For some 40 years, researchers tracked the lives of every child born in 1955 on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, a disadvantaged community with high rates of at-risk behaviours.
The researchers were interested in seeing how many of the children would “succeed” in life despite their circumstances and, if they did, what factors predicted it.
As it turned out, about one-third of the children went on to “do well” in life, becoming respectable, contributing members of their community.
The researchers discovered that these children each had a one “significant someone” in their life who “accepted them unconditionally, regardless of their temperamental idiosyncrasies, physical attractiveness or intelligence.”
Young people need role models and a cheer squad. Role models offer something to aspire to. A cheer squad, comprising of people who speak encouragement and acceptance, build self-esteem and identity. These are among the greatest gifts we can give children.
Fathers are especially important in being both excellent role models and cheer squads for their children.
But even if you have no offspring, you can still be in the cheer squad for children within your circle of influence, helping them to live more!