“Always find good within.” Erin Olivier
One of Erin’s favourite quotes is ‘Go to bed with a dream, wake up with a purpose.’ (unknown author)
This confident, creative and motivated tween, Erin Olivier, 12 years old, was recently chosen as vice-captain of the swimming team at her school in KZN. She loved attending school, happy to be with her friends, to be the one to lift them up when they were feeling down, and to work hard at academics and art, and take part in different sports. Then COVID-19 hit the country.
Erin found herself alone (without friends) in lockdown before the first softball match, and has remained in lockdown till recently, unable to prove her capabilities as swimming vice-captain. She has returned to a very different school, separated from most of her friends, with no softball or any other sport to look forward to.
Is Erin disappointed? Yes. Is she going to let it get her down? No.
I tried to tap into this young tween’s mind, to discover what makes her so confident and easy-going. “I believe in myself.” How refreshing to hear a tween say she believes in herself! This is a quality that will get her through anything, and might be part of the reason she excels at school and with sports and art.
I live my life in full colour
Some of her colourful artwork has been sold. Some of it can be seen adorning the family home. But that’s not all. She’s intelligent, and is always at the top of her class. What makes her such a go-getter? “I live my life in full colour,” she says. “I like being bright. I don’t like being sad and dull. I prefer being happy. I also make sure that my friends always have something to smile and laugh about. I make sure they always have a reason to be happy and smiling.”
Even during lockdown, Erin was able to uplift a friend when he was feeling down, by passing on her brightness to him.
Erin has plans for the future. Plans to be softball captain in high school, and to be part of the swimming team. When she’s finished with school she wants to travel and to become a veterinarian. She has always loved animals. Currently she has two dogs and four cats. If she had her way, she says “I would have seven cats and four dogs, and a bunch of smaller animals – I would have a lot of animals. I will have to own a farm.” Let’s add ‘own a farm’ to Erin’s list of future plans.
Children like Erin ARE the future
On travel: Erin says she would like to travel for about a year, but then settle back in South Africa, the country she was born in and loves. “It’s my home and I believe that one day there will be a big change.” Children like Erin are the future. They are the ones who will make that change.
During the lockdown she has kept herself busy with schoolwork, art and cooking. She says her cooking skills have vastly improved. Before lockdown she only had a few dishes she could cook well. “I have mastered spaghetti and mince, and I’m really good at making scrambled eggs,” she says. “And if I put my mind to it, I can make anything!”
I asked Erin if she had a mentor – someone she strives to imitate. “I would like to be my own self. I have my own personality.” I love the confidence and self-assuredness she exudes.
“Believe in yourself, you can do whatever you want if you put your mind to it!”
Erin has a message to every child reading this (parents please pass this on): “Believe in yourself, you can do whatever you want if you put your mind to it; and Live life in full colour!”
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GOOD THOUGHTS • GOOD WORDS • GOOD DEEDS