Without hope, there is no courage. Hope is a powerful antidote for those without courage, who have lost the heart to try. Encouragement--the act of giving courage--works best when the encourager helps the discouraged find reasons to hope.
Like the small swell of water, it may not take much to give your child hope. Maybe a realization by him that he can do something, that he has abilities and gifts that are valued and can be developed and used. Maybe something to look forward to. Maybe preparation that instills confidence and hope, even as simple as helping him prepare for a test or rehearsing the words he will say before a discussion. Often small successes lead to another...and another, as hope and courage build.
Ultimately, mature hope that changes discouragement to courage is rooted in God. As the Psalmist says, "My hope is in you," not in myself, others, or achievements in this world which come and go. If a child is discouraged, getting hope of some kind is important. But, it is best when her hope points her to a faithful Creator and not the creation.
May our lives show our children hope that goes beyond what is seen. May the little ways we get them to hope change to a hope and trust in the living God who cares for them. May they get to the point where their dreams become God's dreams and they can say with the Jahaziel in Chronicles, "Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God's."