Children need to learn to be better

Published 6:34pm Monday, October 21, 2013

Dr. James Troglen

Let me say right now I fully realize I will be misunderstood, misquoted and perhaps called ignorant by some readers today – but what’s new?

Let’s get on with it.

I believe in building a child’s self-esteem.

As parents we need to fill our child’s bucket of self-esteem so full that the world cannot punch enough holes into it too drain it.

But some things seem to have gone crazy. We seem to feel self-esteem is the answer to everything wrong in our society. If we just feel better about ourselves we will do better.

That is false.

For instance there is no correlation, according to many studies, between self-esteem among high school teens and the reduction in teen pregnancy, drug use or violence in schools.

One author has stated that there is now a doctrine of self-esteem that has hardened into a “national orthodoxy.”

We dare not hurt anyone’s feelings or make them feel bad about their actions. It is almost a national sin.

I read of some lads in Connecticut who broke into a school and did considerable damage. They were caught after bragging about their acts. The school system expelled the boys and was immediately sued as they caused some of the boys to have “feelings of unworthiness.”

As one parent put it, the boys may have committed a crime but the school had hurt their feelings. Thus, the boys were the greatest victims.

Some schools no longer allow competitive games to be played on school property due to the danger they pose to a child’s self-esteem. The games include dodge ball, kickball, musical chairs, red rover, tag and duck, duck goose.

Don’t get me wrong, any competitive game can go too far and make losers, no matter how close the game, feel bad, really bad.

I played on a high school football team that won only one football game the entire year! We went from being called the “Cotaco Indians” to being called the “Cotaco Papooses.”

That’s just wrong man!

Still, we need to get a hold of this self-esteem issue.

We live in a competitive society and real life is ranked. The smartest, hardest working and most talented come in first. You may not like it but it is the way things are.

The best schools, parents and communities don’t try to negate competition to make people feel better, they help the students learn to be better, hard working and become over-comers in life; not victims.  This prepares them for the real world.

Scripture speaks to this in the life of young Timothy. After a discourse  on Godliness and other scripture truths Paul tells young Timothy, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity (1 Tim. 4:12-13).

Then he says, “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress” (1 Tim. 4:15).

In simple words “Work at it Timothy, no one is going to make you feel better about being second, so work to be first.”

We need to learn we can all be winners, just not at everything.

We all need to know what we are best at and what we can be better at.

We need an honest look at ourselves. Kids don’t need to “think” or “feel” they are better than they are, they need to learn to be better.

By the way that one win we had when I was at Cotaco. We beat the state champs that year, 28-7.

Go Cotaco Indians!


Dr. James Troglen is pastor of First Baptist Church of Wetumpka.

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