Monday, July 10, 2006

It's a Trait. It's a Commodity. It's Both!

Some time in the late 1980s (near as I can figure) self esteem ceased to be something you derived from actual accomplishments and became instead one of the avenues to those accomplishments. That's right, folks, make your child feel good about himself or herself, and great things will naturally follow.

I know highly accomplished people who are miserable and some complete wankers who can't seem to deflate their chests. But just do a quick web search for self esteem training and you will find page after page of links to organizations that will perk up your child's self image and open the pathway to a lifetime of happy exellence.

First question that pops into my mind is what if you don't achieve the advertised result in the time allotted? How does the hapless child feel, having flunked self esteem class?

The United States apparently leads the world in happiness training. Professor Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania has been hired to lead a program for British schoolcildren. Apparently no one in the UK or nearby Europe is qualified. So much for the benefits of socialized medicine and weeks of paid vacation every year. Or maybe Seligman simply offered the lowest bid.

Any students who don't do well can chalk it up to the language barrier.

I suppose the fundamental concept is that if you respect yourself you find it easier to identify with and respect others. You're less likely to go along with groups advocating destructive behavior or to lash out individually in your own frustration. It sounds good. Give it a shot.

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