There is a difference between self-esteem and a recognition of your abilities,
limitations, and shortcomings. Someone's self-worth shouldn't depend
on their abilities. Just saying.
Self esteem appears to be synonymous with ego, a counterproductive
characteristic.Do the right thing and help others to do the same.This breeds something far more valuable.Self respect.
A perfect example is watching some of the America's got talent. Clearly, someone's parent, grand parent or family assured SOME of the
performers that they were truly gifted and talented.It's kinda
sad to see their faces when they realize for the first time that perhaps
they're not very talented. And the people in the audience are not
very kind about letting them know.As Cougar claws says, self worth
shouldn't depend on their abilities, I agree.It's like the
old Barney Fife episode where the local choir keeps trying to hide from him so
he won't ruin the practice. Funny stuff.Honesty is the best,
but everyone has talents in some areas, sometimes you just have to search them
out. That's where good loving parents come in.
Another one of the bedrock foundations of liberalism proven to be not only
wrong, and ineffective, but totally counterproductive.Half of all
people are below average in height, weight, intelligence, competence, eduction,
achievements or anything else. (But not necessarily the same person being below
average in all of those areas.)There are winners, and losers. A lot
of winning is just showing up and working hard, and being chewed out when you
don't! Get used to it, that is how real life is. And, no
government program will change any of it.
Too bad more parents won't read this article. I see it everyday in school.
Self esteem used to come as a result of achievement and achievement is the
result of hard work. Today's kids get their self esteem from undeserved
praise.This reminds me of Fagin (evil character in Oliver) telling
the young Oliver; "If you continue as you began you may become the greatest
man who ever lived." High praise for a child who just joined a gang of
We have gone from the 'greatest generation' to the 'narcissistic
generation'. And we give a medal to everyone who shows up.
Even though self esteem doesn't increas someone's abilities, it does
increase someone's ability to land jobs and promotions. In my 40 year
career, the people who make it to the top are rarely the best at their job.
They are the people who are able to convince uppermanagement that "I've
got it," even when they don't and they know they don't. When they
can't actully cash the check that their mough just wrote, they will bat
their lashes at someone who will do it for them.
The best move is to be born of the right parents (pretty, smart). But hard work
will bias the probabilities of success. As will an intelligent search for
one's best path through life.
The movie Parental Guidance shows this clearly.
Empty praise is probably as bad a thing you can do to a person, yet it is the
way of life for much of our society. It is truly an insult to heap unearned
glory and honor onto a person who has done nothing to earn either. The most
prevalent examples of this is the deification our military people and highway
patrolmen. This is also true for ordinary people, you do them harm
by giving them phony credit. However, there is no limit to the good
that can be done to an individual by convincing him of his potential for
accomplishment. I think it is a part of the conservative mantra for
the conversion of people into cattle when they council the put-down of a persons
Ok... I am a highly competitive person, and love to push kids to compete too...
but that said, self worth / self esteem doesn't need to be derived by
performing better than others, winning, or being the best. I think we put way
too much emphasis in being "competitive". A person who earns average
wages, provides for an average house, and has an average family should be ever
as much proud of what they have as someone who made it to the most elite
schools, live in the nicest neighborhoods, make the top wages, etc.I
think what is more dysfunctional is this perpetual comparisons we do to each
other. I was an average student... probably was in the 70 percentile of my
graduating class... and yet now I am in that dubious top 5% earners in the
nation. People do things differently. Comparisons try to pretend there is this
mythical baseline person we are supposed to be measured against. Our education
system doesn't accommodate that kids are different, they learn different,
they are motivated by different things. Any kid should be every bit proud of
what they can do, because it could be "their" best.
Offering praise more frequently than criticism is not entirely bad. As I see
it, problems come in where discipline as been completely avoided.Again, from what I have seen, society has gone to great lengths to extend
praise and to reward mediocrity while refusing to instill morals, responsibility
and ethics. This is much like building the world's fastest car and feeling
that it would only undermine it's capacity if brakes were to be installed.
People need praise, but they also need to know where the boundaries are.We can all see what has happened when parents and others have said:
'well done son, you can have anything you want', while forgetting to
tell them that they cannot take it from others and that no one is going to
simply hand everything to them without work, sacrifice and compromise. Maybe we
should save the cap and gown for those who have successfully completed twelfth
grade, and again college.
Again, these articles and the typical responses above come from upper middle
class to more affluent life experiences and settings. Too many of our less
affluent children do not suffer from poor self-esteem but complete lack of it.
Too many of our children have no direction and no belief in themselves. I know he came from a comfortable background monetary wise but I wonder
if Adam Lanza, for example, suffered from too much self-esteem as he went to
school and cowered going down the hall from class to class. Then at
the same time, like I've said before on these blogs in many respects I
really think highly in general of our young people who have survived some really
lousy parenting just to survive in our world. But even then, I see still our
children doing amazing things all the time, serving others, creating and
inventing. They are definitely from the posts above, more charitable and
tolerant of others. Most of us approaching 50 and over grew up in two-parent
households and had abundance of support. Our children of today don't enjoy
I wish the author hadn't used the word "Entitled" in the headline
because it's so politically loaded and it makes it so easy to say the
problem is the children's attitudes. Actually the problem is the children
have believed what we, the grown ups, have repeated on a daily basis.
Don't blame the victim.How about a headline that focuses more
on the real issue like "Excessive Praise Harms Kids' Futures" or
"Does Saying 'You Are Smart' Cripple Kids?"