Modern psychologists have brought the subject of self-esteem, firmly into the public domain. The term appears regularly on a child’s school report, pre-sentencing reports and even from the mouths of toddlers.
A leading scholar and sociologist, Dr Tony Sewell claims that many of our children have too much self-esteem and as a consequence they have little regard for the opinions or esteem of others. In support of this, one Head Teacher said recently “our children have an inflated sense of their own entitlement”. According to Wikipedia self esteem reflects a person’s ‘overall self appraisal of their own worth’. It encompasses beliefs and emotions reflected in attitudes and actions.
Any term that begins with the word self usually prompts an internal negative reaction or at least gives one pause. It is easily associated with selfishness, which is at the root of many ills. On the other hand it is at the centre of things like self-harm and a lack of confidence. Ultimately the term is concerned for a person’s well being – which is wholly dependent on how one feels about one’s self.
The new world order, driven by the double edged sword of technology, is dominated by social networks, sites such as ‘My Space’ and ‘Face Book’, allow young people in particular to define ‘self’. Our children are concerned that their peers and indeed the wider world see them in a positive light. As one observer put it “…they wish to determine their own fate….” Boys want to prove that they ‘have what it takes’ and girls search for affirmation, “I am lovely”.
Fathers play a vital role in a child’s self perception, sense of worth and therefore self esteem. parents must not allow websites to teach their children. They must ensure that they guide children through the pitfalls of development. Fathers can teach their sons, through example as well as word, that life has purpose, value and meaning. Daughters will learn through Dads that self-respect is a key ingredient in self-esteem.