My son just turned 7. He is my bright light. He is a lover, he sings and dances 12 out of 24 hours of the day, his smile is beautiful and contagious, he pets my hair when I’m sick, hugs me if I’m sad, and is my best little art companion. He’s so many amazing thing but he’s also sad a lot. Friends don’t come easy to him, he’s small for his age, he’s sensitive and wants to fit in but would rather play alone than get his feelings hurt. This past year was especially hard. Fortunately, he’s been taking karate for a couple of years now and I really think it’s helped him feel more powerful and confident. They broke boards at karate the other day for the first time and he came home with these broken boards in his hands, so proud of what he’d done. He couldn’t believe that even though he’s small he was powerful enough to do it all by himself. It made me think about how important it is to feel strong and capable. Because of that, every morning we says these words out loud: “I am strong. I am brave. I am kind. I am powerful. I am confident. I am a silent leader.” We decided he’d write these simple words on one of the broken boards to always remind him that this strength and courage can’t come from other people - it belongs to him; we shouldn’t depend on other people to make us feel valid. When you own something instead of relying on others to lend it to you, you never have to give it back. We are all small. This world is giant and sometimes intimidating and unfamiliar. The minute we lose faith in ourselves we lose our power to follow the secret dreams we have, we lose the confidence to be strong enough to help someone else who needs it, we don’t feel brave enough to breathe deep and tackle our demons, we don’t feel secure enough to ask for help when we need it. We stay stagnant. That’s a pretty lonely way to exist. Remember those days you didn’t think you’d have the courage to take another breath or face another day? The times you had to fight with everything you had just to get out of bed? The time when the fear and pain went so deep you didn’t think it mattered what happened next? But you are here. You did it. Stand tall and let your self worth shine, believe in your courage, rely on your strength, show off your bravery and power because you have broken boards too.