“Self esteem comes through effort and accomplishment.”
When my kids’ headmaster spoke those words at tonight’s meeting I wanted to stand and applaud. With hindsight, I should have.
Today it seems we are trying to build our kids’ self esteem by making sure they never fail, but we miss the point that failure is a part of learning to succeed. By sheltering our kids from failure we don’t allow them to learn to cope with adversity. Instead we lower the bar and make sure “Everyone gets a trophy” and “Everyone’s a winner.”
I love my kids and it breaks my heart to not be able to give them everything they could ever want, but I know if I did they really wouldn’t appreciate it. I can go into their room and step over toys scattered haphazardly around the room and inside I know I overdo it sometimes. I can go through and find the toys I know they really enjoy and play with, but I know they have bunches that could disappear to where left socks go and they would never miss them.
Things that stand out from my memories are when the Pee Wee team Lucie cheered for lost. Those young men were inconsolable. They had played their hearts out, but they lost to a stronger overall team. I was crushed and wanted to do nothing more than cheer those young men onto a championship, but for that year I couldn’t. Later those boys showed up to cheer my daughter’s squad to a second place finish in their competition. (Second place, just like those boys.) I can’t help but think that the grace and poise those guys showed when they fought so hard for something they couldn’t achieve will serve them well down the road.
I remember playing sports and winning as well as losing. When I became an adult and moved from slinging groceries to a career, I took a lot of pride in my abilities. Eventually I went to work for NEC (aka PHONECO). I now work for Microsoft and while I am still proud of my abilities, the last year has humbled me. I went from being a go to guy at NEC to a new fish at MS. I’ve spent the last year trying to shift from my telephony with some server background, to a server with some telephony background.
It’s been a challenge.
Lately I have finally begun to understand I have to swallow my pride and ask for help rather than flounder forever thinking , “I can fix this. I’m the only one who can fix this.” In short, I’ve been expending a lot of effort without much accomplishment.
THE WIFE and I talked about this last night and she reminded me that I need to put God first in my life again. I admit, I have let Him fall by the wayside while I stroked my ego. It took some failure and the smartest, most beautiful woman in the world to remind me. Without the struggle and failure, I would continue to pursue the wrong things with the wrong motivation.
I guess I could have just written this post to say, “If I didn’t work for it I wouldn’t really appreciate it when I got it.” Then I could be part of the 99%.