Most everyone agrees that self-esteem is a good thing and psychologists and educators have been preaching it for the last 20 years. Elementary schools have graduations for kindergarten classes, and everyone gets a ribbon for participating; everyone. Counselors fall out of their chairs trying to avoid anything that can be construed by kids as discouraging, such as winners and losers, and currently it seems unfounded self-esteem is the only thing America is producing.
After hearing more people complain about the dangers of hurting kids self-esteem and how certain parenting techniques send bad messages, and not being able to send my own message by punching these people in the face, I thought about the intricacies of communication and the narrow line parents must sometimes walk when raising impressionable and sensitive young people.
I’m a firm believer that balance should be a goal in everything we do and opportunity should be derived from challenges, and that’s why I took the time to watch David McCullough Jr.’s entire Wellesly High School 2012 commencement address and not just the highlights. With all the press focused on his stark statistics, I thought his most important message to the graduates was overlooked: Live up to the effort your parents put into raising you and enjoy life. Instead, this profound advice was overshadowed by Mr. McCullough actually backing up his ‘ you’re not special’ statements with empirical evidence (AKA: telling the truth), which apparently everyone was shocked by. Big surprise.
The Scam Stamp of Approval has been awarded to this inspired speech that recognizes everything parents do for their kids, acknowledging the bad with the good, and asking for better.