I love to eat, but regrettably I am not a great cook. Many of my favorite childhood memories start with the smell of my aunt’s cooking at our shore house. My Aunt Eileen is one of my favorite cooks. She makes the best meals and, in particular, the best sandwiches. I often try to replicate them but always fall short. I never know exactly where I went wrong, but what I do know is that something is off. Perhaps I am rushing. Perhaps I am not using the right ingredients in the right amounts. Or perhaps something is missing. Much like my futile attempts to replicate my aunt’s sandwiches, a young man’s future success will not be fully satisfying when something is missing.
In a recent post, “Fake It ’til You Make It,” I evaluated Amy Cuddy’s message in her TedTalk, “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are.” The post emphasized the value and fragility of confidence in a young man. Simply put, confidence mixed with opportunity is the perfect foundation for future success. The message in that blog post, however, fell short of providing the entire recipe for a young man’s success. There is another ingredient that is pivotal — the belief in a higher being.
Belief in the existence of something divine shows humility. It requires that we commit to the reality that we are mortal. To believe what we cannot see requires faith, and I assert that we must teach boys to “Faith It ‘til You Make It.” If their faith is found at a young age, questioned through the adolescent years, and nourished into early adulthood, it becomes solid ground that they can stand on in moments of uncertainty, discord, and pain. I believe that faith in a higher being can assure a young person of a greater purpose to his work and a greater meaning to his life.
How do we help a young person “faith it ‘til you make it” and foster a belief in a higher being? As parents and educators, we must embrace questions from children and provide worthy responses. We must appreciate and validate their questions; they are opportunities to explore and discuss the role of a higher being in our lives. Too, we must share our own beliefs. As Saint Augustine wrote, “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.”
To be successful and fulfilled, a young man needs confidence to embrace the opportunities that he encounters, faith in a higher being to keep him humble and resilient, and a tasty sandwich to keep him nourished.