I’ve always thought self-esteem was overrated.
Having courage and confidence in one’s abilities is something totally different.
I don’t praise my kids for every little thing in life. I want them to have the feeling of a job well-done, but not doing the job for the praise. I don’t like when they come to me and “brag” about all they accomplished. I want them to feel confident in the fact they did they best they could do and contributed to the cause.
More is accomplished by those in the background than those way out in front of the others.
As Christians, we do “good works” because it is what God wants us to do because we love Him; not because we are racking up the points and the pats on the back.
I’ve seen teachers, parents, onlookers giving praises or pats on the back for smallest of things that weren’t in need of praise.
For example: when Nicole was in public school before we finalized her adoption, she was in the resource room for assistance. She had a spelling test every week. Her and I would study those words both orally and written. I knew she struggled, so we set up a reward if she got 50% correct (yes I know 50% is still technically an “F” but I know it was HUGE for her).
After her test I asked her how she did. She was sooo excited she got a 100% plus stars all over her paper. I was excited for her too….until I saw the paper!!!
Instead of writing out the words, she had done lots of circles for her letters; like a 2 or 3-year-old would do before learning to write.
Her teacher had written “Great Job Nicole!” Lots of stars and smiley faces all over the paper.
Something like that doesn’t boost anyone’s self-esteem…..it is a setup for failure!!
Nicole didn’t get her reward from us because it was obvious she didn’t really try. She knew what she’d been able to get away with all those years previously because heaven forbid anyone tell her otherwise.
Praise the Lord for homeschooling!!! I hate to see where Nicole would be now if she were still in public school, but back to self-esteem.
By working with Nicole on her words, I was trying to build up her confidence that she really could do it. I was building her courage to try her best no matter what. In the teacher’s desire to build self-esteem, it blew both of my endeavors right out of the water.
Our two newest sons have lots of self-esteem. When asked to do something they have a come back….”How much will I get paid?” or “What will I get if I do?” Everyone needs to do their bidding and they have no regards for others (they are learning tho. We’ve had to take them down a peg or two). Their self-esteem has more than once put others, especially themselves, in danger to prove a point. It takes courage to know when to step back and not be a show off.
Did you know that Adolf Hitler is regarded as someone with high self-esteem? Suddam Hussein?
When we watch super hero movies, all the villans have high self-esteem. The heroes have the courage and self-confidence to go fight the villans for the protection of others.
Self-esteem is where everything is done for one’s self. Not for any other purpose whatsoever.
I’ve always felt this way. Then today I see an article written by an author I admire. John Rosemond.
Mr. Rosemond wrote the book (recommended by my oldest son, Travis), Parenting by The Book. He also has a website www.rosemond.com. Lots of good parenting advice with words of wisdom found on his site.
I subscribe to e-newsletters from his website and today’s email says exactly how I’ve always felt and I wanted to share it with you too.
“the subject of self-esteem
by John Rosemond
Whenever I talk on the subject of self-esteem, how the research strongly suggests that people with high regard for themselves have correspondingly low regard for others and that high self-esteem is highly associated with antisocial behavior like bullying, people become understandably perplexed. After all, the notion that a state of high self-esteem is desirable has become as "American" as mom and apple pie.
The inevitable question: "But John, I want my child to possess self-confidence." Ah, but the research finds that high self-esteem is associated with fear of failure. The child who has been praised indiscriminately by parents and teachers-which has been the unfortunate lot of many kids over the past forty or so years-may tend to shy away from an unfamiliar challenge. On the other hand, he may overestimate his abilities and often end up failing, which is why the research also finds that people with high self-esteem are especially prone to depression. In other words, depression is not necessarily the consequence of having too little self-esteem, but rather having too much.
Teachers were told that constant praise would elevate academic performance, but social scientists have found that people with high self-esteem consistently under-perform. They believe anything they do is worthy of merit; therefore, they tend not to put forth their best efforts. It is worth mentioning that as praise in schools has gone up, test scores have gone down.
And so, and once again, we discover that there is nothing new under the sun. The traditional ideal of humility and modesty appears to be the most functional state of self-regard. That should humble folks who believe that new ideas are better than old ones (but it won't).
History is replete with humble and modest people who accomplished great things. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are two outstanding examples. Their accomplishments were not the result of thinking highly of themselves, but of dedication to causes much larger than themselves.
Besides, I will propose that courage, not self-confidence, is what parents should be attempting to help their children develop. The research strongly suggests that self-confident people either are (a) hesitant to take on challenges unless they believe they are going to succeed, (b) so sure of succeeding that they foolishly expose themselves and others to high risk situations. By all accounts, George Armstrong Custer possessed very high self-esteem.
Courage, on the other hand, is the willingness to take on a task even if one knows he or she may not succeed. It is the willingness to fight the good fight even when the odds are stacked against you. These are people who make great sacrifices for noble causes. Think Martin Luther.
America needs more Martins. Unfortunately, we appear to be raising lots of Custers.”
So, take a look around. Really look at people / kids. Do they have self-esteem or self-confidence? Do they have courage?
God’s Blessings to you as you continue to raise kids with courage for God’s glory.