From the article, which is about believing children who happen to have ADHD, but I believe can also apply to any and all children regardless of what they may have:
One of our family’s favorite movies is Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. It’s a beautiful movie with many beautiful lessons in it. One of the lessons that I found so profound comes from a block of wood. Mr. Magorium’s protégé, Mahoney, is stumped by the purpose of the block, and when she’s frustrated and at wits end with what to do with it she tells her mentor that it’s just a block of wood. His response baffles her at first. He says, “What do you think would happen if once, just once, somebody believed in it?”
As a parent of five children with ADHD and too many co-occurring conditions to count I have found the value of believing to be one of the most important tools in my parenting toolbox. I have yet to find any magical fixes for problems or behaviors. There has been no organizational system that instantly fixed what’s lacking in their executive function abilities, and after years and years of talking about them and working on them, social skills are still a work in progress.
Parenting ADHD kids is not about quick fixes, it’s the very definition of long range goals. Progress is slow and often painstakingly gained. In fact, it’s so slow at times that I have wondered if we’re moving forward at all. But by believing in my children and their intelligence, their talents, their strengths, and most importantly their abilities to overcome their challenges, I open up a world of possibilities to them, the possibilities of growth and change.
It’s a warm hug when a child feels alone and doesn’t understand why they aren’t picked for a team, invited to a party, or are so often left out. It’s long talks whenever they need to happen, about whatever they need to talk about. It’s listening, reserving judgment, helping a child find the answer themselves. It’s pep talks and encouragements when whatever they’re facing seems insurmountable. It’s breaking life up into more manageable bites and helping them to learn how to break it up themselves. It’s sitting by their side when the homework just doesn’t end and it’s so hard to focus. It’s the tender voice that redirects. It’s patience and love. It’s teaching instead of punishing. It’s the dedication it takes to drive and wait for speech therapy, occupational therapy, tutoring, or doctor’s visits. It’s encouraging talents, passions, and strengths to counterbalance the struggles. It’s the time we put into researching and understanding our child’s experience. It’s what happens in their hearts when they see us stand up and defend them and advocate on their behalf to teachers, coaches, and sometimes well-meaning but misinformed family members.
In the movie, when Mahoney finally believes in the wooden cube, when she stands up and defends it for what it is and what it can be, the block of wood comes to life. At first just a little, then, the more she believes and reassures it the more it moves until it’s soaring around the room. It becomes something truly fantastic and magical because someone believed in it. And isn’t that true for all of us? Belief is empowering; it is a key to unlock the best of what we can become.
Mahoney: “What is it?”
Mr. Magorium: “It’s the Congreve Cube.”
Mahoney: “It looks like a big block of wood.”
Mr. Magorium: “It is a big block of wood. But now, it’s YOUR big block of wood.”
Mahoney: “Thank you. I was just saying last night I don’t have enough big blocks of wood.”
Mr. Magorium: “Unlikely adventures require unlikely tools.”