This blog post comes about after reading a post by Clint at Milwaukee ID10T entitled “Self Esteem.” Surprisingly enough, I don’t agree with Clint, but this time, not in the adversarial sense … merely because I think that while his intentions are good, I think he misses a larger point.
He writes how his eight-year old daughter beat him at Connect Four. I’ve played this game and it is challenging. Clint says that she and he had played 10-15 times previously … all victories for Dad. But this time he could tell she was looking a few moves ahead and when she did defeat him, he was very proud and he could tell that her confidence had grown ... and her self esteem.
In this sense, Clint is correct. Anytime a child is victorious in game playing will a boost to self esteem occur. Playing is the way children learn and positive experiences are the desired result. But being victorious is not the only way in which improvements in self esteem occur, as Clint hints at. What about the 10-15 times that she was not victorious at Connect Four? According to Clint’s statement, her self esteem should not have improved. She did not win.
Now, in a sense, that’s not fair because I’ve no doubt that Clint loves his daughter very much. Just the fact that he is playing games with her, teaching her how to hit a baseball, how to ride a bicycle, taking the time to be with his daughter … all are signs of a deep love. I’ll bet that during those times that his daughter was unsuccessful at hitting a baseball, fell off her bike or was defeated at Connect Four, Clint was right there offering advice and encouragement.
It’s so sad that more children have not had the opportunity to experience the love that Clint’s daughter has experienced in her short life. She knows she is worthwhile and she is beginning to learn that she can accomplish anything to which she bends her mind or will. How does she know this? She know this because of love. Love is the fountain from which self esteem flows.
It’s sad that our schools have been forced to acknowledge that a lack of self esteem is so apparent in so many of its students, and it’s sad that the schools have even had to try to rectify this deficiency. Think of all the turmoil in Milwaukee’s inner city. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Unfortunately, artificially encouraging self esteem in school usually does not overcome the lack of nurturing at home.
A child that is not nurtured and cared for will not have self esteem … no matter how many victories that child may achieve. I wonder if Mike Tyson, who achieved greatness for a short period of time, wouldn’t be willing to give all that up for parents who cared.
So, I am not going to get into the ulterior reasons why Clint wrote his post, even though I suspect it was not all about his daughter succeeding. Rather, thank you, Clint, for the look into your life and the lives of your family. I hope the self esteem your daughter is developing will be enough to ward off all the hate in the world and help her to find that which is good and to contribute good to the world.
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