the power of believing

Jim Valvano and the Power of Believing in Your Kids

What was the greatest moment in college basketball? Even if you aren’t old enough to remember 1983, you have probably seen the clip. Derek Whittenburg’s shot from 30 feet falls short, enabling teammate Lorenzo Charles to grab the ball and put it in as time expires. The NC State Wolfpack beat Houston’s Phi Slama Jama, which included Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. It was the greatest upset in NCAA history.

NC State’s vibrant coach Jim Valvano always believed in his team. Part of their practice ritual was cutting the nets down to prepare for winning a National Championship. His confidence was infectious to his players. Even as he battled the cancer that would take his life, he never lost hope or courage. “Jimmy V” knew the power of believing as stated in these words: My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person; he believed in me.” Believing in our children and communicating that belief is an important gift. It nurtures each of the following necessary ingredients to success.

A Confident Sense of Self

Your belief in your children gives them a strong identity. It gives them permission to be themselves. Insecurity is diminished when they know their value and what they bring to the table. A confident sense of self enables your kids to have healthy relationships and stay cool under pressure.


Your belief in them reminds them of where they came from and that they have a home base. It communicates that they are a good and legitimate part of your family’s story. A strong sense of belonging is like having an army by their side.


A father’s belief in his kids is like putting gasoline in their tank. All of their passion and enthusiasm is released. Your stamp of approval allows it. They will want to prove you right.

If you can envision your kids’ success, then they will be able to see it.


Setbacks and difficulties are held in proper perspective. The enduring sentiment is that you have faith in them. Failure will be looked at as a temporary growing pain on the road to success. They are less likely to quit and more apt to see victory.


Your kids will follow your lead. If you can envision their success, then they will be able to see it. There will be no other reality in their minds than what they will achieve.

Sound off: Who first believed in you and what effect did it have?

Check out our All Pro Dad team discuss this topic on this podcast episode:

Huddle up with your kids and tell them why you believe in them.