We dedicate a lot of time in our child rearing culture to building self esteem, but how much time is too much time to spend heaping praise onto a child? In a culture that wants everyone to be a winner and receive a trophy, a star or a pat on the back, how do we teach our children the benefits of working hard and earning praise? Unnecessary praise of kids stunts their emotional development and they transform into adults that can't clearly understand their actual strengths and weaknesses. Allowing a child to be too much the focus of attention doesn't allow humility to blossom. How can parents and teachers find balance between praise, fostering a sense of community and an honest picture of personal success for each student? How can we begin this acceptance of our children and how can we teach them to accept their limitations? Read on to hear about Mr. Matlack's personal experience with fostering humility with his sons.
Mr. Matlack co-founded The Good Men Project in 2008 and since then has appeared on national and local television and has traveled the country promoting a new kind of conversation about manhood, one that pushes men to think deeply about what they believe and how they define themselves in the twenty first century.
How does a boy find humility when parent spends too much time building self esteem?
My own experience of ego is that it is based on fear. All these guys (myself included by the way) going around beating their chests all puffed up is really about fearing that we are not good enough, won't measure up. Ego is a very fragile shell that is easily cracked. Underneath is terror. I see this in my 15 year old son who is the most upbeat, charismatic boy with plenty of swagger. Just one well placed sentence, often unintentional on my part, can reduce him to tears.
So how do you cultivate humility? Through love. And teaching your boys that they are perfect just the way they are.