Teaching the wrong lessons

USA Today has an article about a study that the big push towards boosting children’s self-esteem of the 80’s wasn’t such a good idea, after all. Apparently now that those kids are growing up and finding out that not everyone will blow sunshine up their butts and praise them to the high heavens. Reality is crashing in on their tender little egos, and it’s proving very painful.

Ever since I first heard about this notion, I’ve thought it was insane. Protecting children from criticism and failure and judgment while they’re children simply renders them unable to deal with it when they’re adults, and makes it a far harsher lesson.

One belief I’ve had for most of my life is very simple: anything someone else gives you, someone else can take away. The only things you are guaranteed to keep are those you earn for yourself.

I know I’m a good writer. I know that because I work at it. I read obsessively, and I write nearly as obsessively. I am borderline anal-retentive about spelling and grammar, because I don’t want anything to distract from the message I am trying to convey. I don’t know I’m a good writer because someone told me I was, because that’s what some stupid book told them to say.

So I’m glad to see people have finally come to realize this simple truth. I’m just sorry for all the kids they screwed up in the process.

Is there any way we could sue the National Education Association for malpractice?


Update: OK, typo fixed, ccwbass. I KNEW I shoulda triple-checked this piece before hitting “publish…”

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