One of the most discouraging changes in education today, is the forced conformity of so many students. Add to this, the dumbing down of the curriculum, the the control over speech and behavior, one wonders what we’re doing to the REAL self-esteem of children and future adults.
Two of my GKs and I spend time together each week. I take them everywhere – of course places suitable for a 2+ and new 6 year old. One of the most heartwarming experiencs is listening to them chatter in the car. The older one talks a lot and the younger one mimics him. BUT in both cases, even when the older one was 3, the words that were a joy to here, “Grandma, I can do it myself!”
One of the first experiences they learned, was how to unhook seatbelts, after a stop. This expended into opening the door, after I unlocked it and now, the older one is connecting the seatbelt without adult help. The younger boy is influenced by the older one – both experience the “Ah, hah, I can do it myself.”
Self-esteem is built incrementaly, over time. It is my belief that adults are there, not to hover over kids all the time, but rather to encourage them to reach out, push themselves, encouraging them to “just try.” What happens? They develop honest self-esteem.
If I recall correctly, the self-esteem movement started in CA decades ago. Schools and teachers thought/believed they could teach self-esteem, give it to children. No, real self-esteem must be earned, one step at a time. The phony self-esteem of so many youth today is a result of “giving” them kudos when the the kudo wasn’t earned. The youth develops a false sense of self and ability. On the other hand, when adults work with children, give them opportunities to expand their awareness and “do it” ness, all win. Teachers, give them opportunities to push themselves – you would be amazed what they can accomplish.