Monday, February 13, 2006

Self Esteem and the Boogy Man

Oh...every time I get a newsletter from our daughter’s school I get the urge to giggle and throw-up at the same time...very weird sensation. Reading this stuff is like getting a large sugar injection from Bonzo the Evil Clown.

Of course, the big thing in schools these days is self-esteem…and why not, good feelings, good times...happy happy happy.

Well...lets start.

"We're increasingly hearing this term (self-esteem) which might seem complicated..."

Condescending jack-asses. Since when is it complicated...and even if it were, since when did I forget how to use a dictionary. It gets better:

"Teachers will have a very significant bearing on children since the school is a world of success or failure. Success gives confidence, increases the taste for risk taking and enhances the self-esteem, while failure breeds self-doubt, instills fear and will adversely affects the child's qualities."

Where do I start. They're on the button for does all of those things...but failure can (and does) the same thing. Failure is needed for learning. I agree that in the wrong environment, failure does instill fear. What the teachers are really saying here is that they don't feel like creating an environment where failure is learning tool, because dealing with all of those negative feelings is too complicated for them (my turn to be condescending). Good feelings are easy, and therefore less work. Its easier to connect a good feeling to a learning experience than a negative one. Failure, is an important part of learning, just as much as success is...sometimes more so. What has happened is that we're unbalanced in our way of teaching kids. Instead of creating an environment for them to be successful, we're handing success to them.

One of my favorite movies sums up how I view the raising of my kids. In Batman Returns, a young Bruce Wayne falls in a well and breaks his arm. His Dad rescues him from the well and says, "Why do we fall Bruce? So we can learn to get back up." Schools, and more parents now, want to make sure that their kids never fall (both metaphorically and physically)...ever. We're ending up with a generation of kids that will never know how to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and be stronger for doing so.

And here's the topper:

" ..if a child is leaning toward a negative side, there is serious cause for concern. Restoring one's self-esteem is a highly complex task that takes a great deal of time. Prevention is the key." instead of identifying this extreme and addressing those kids, they've labeled all kids as in need of this crap. My wife told me that nobody can fail in our school between Kindergarden and grade 8. That means that there are kids going into high-school with a sub-par skills...oh least they feel good about themselves. We're playing to the lowest common denominator and calling education.

I'm sorry...but I'm calling bullshit on this self-esteem stuff.

I say bring back dodge-the-ball. Now there was a good self-esteem builder.

No comments: