Tag Archive | self esteem

Should Kids Be Allowed to Lose?

awards          Recently it has been proposed here in Canada that a certain University remove the Dean’s List since the students who do not make it on the Dean’s List may suffer psychological repercussions.  Naturally, this is the next step after handing out trophies for just attending a sports programme and the fact that there are reported incidents of grade inflation going on in the schools. This leaves us with a coddled generation who feels entitled to the best life has to offer without putting in the necessary effort.

            Just showing up for a sports programme does not deserve a reward.  Being part of a team could earn a commemorative ribbon or pin, but each person has not earned the right to a trophy.  When little Johnny comes home and says that he didn’t get anything out of his sports programme because he didn’t get a trophy, the parent can reassure Johnny that he did indeed get something.  Johnny learned a new skill and he most likely improved in that skill.  My dear Johnny, you don’t always need to win, but learning something new and improving is very important.  You have also learned that you will not always be the best in life.  But, that’s O.K.  As long as you did YOUR best.

              Teachers have confessed to grade inflation in schools.  A certain grade point average has to be met in order to receive sufficient funding.  This results in college/university students who feel entitled to a “B” just for attending class.  If they don’t get the mark they expect on a test they argue with their teacher, “But I studied for that!”  They fully expect their teacher to up their grade on the basis that they studied.

            This makes Sally feel that she is entitled to that job she applied for.  “Have you not seen my resume?  It’s outstanding!  I am known for regular attendance and doing background work (even if it’s not always right, at least I do it!).”

            Making mistakes is a part of learning.  When we make a mistake, hopefully we will remember what the correct solution was and in this way we have progressed in our learning.  But, if we don’t teach our children that mistakes are ok, how are they going to progress in life?  They will fall apart the first time they are told that they did something wrong.

            Now they want to remove the Dean’s List so that some students won’t suffer self-esteem issues because they don’t make the list?  Shouldn’t they already know that they are not always going to be on the top?  Have they not learned that we will lose more than we win in life?  Of course not because they have always had that trophy handed to them, or the grade bumped up for them.  Now we must take away the next obstacle for their narcissistic personality to continue blooming.

We are living in a society where everything is too easy.  We can access anything at the tips of our fingers via the Internet and cell phones.  Credit cards make it easy to purchase things we cannot really afford.  This creates the need for more.  Happiness becomes elusive, as it is always just 10% more than we have.  We look for quick fixes in all areas of life.

How about teaching the younger generation the three “P’s”—Patience, persistence and perseverance?  Life is a journey, not a race.  We will not always win, but we must keep going, learning from our mistakes and moving on with our head held high knowing that we have done the best we could with the talents we have received.

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The Seasons of Life

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Puddicombe Farms in 2010

The season of fall has come upon us this week.  We are back to the cooler air that requires those comfortable sweaters and warm blankets once again.  Scents of casseroles permeate the rooms of my house and the hot chocolate has been pulled out of the cupboard again.  Anticipation builds as we look forward to fall colours, apple cider and the privilege of viewing pumpkin patches on a wagon ride.

As the season has changed this week, so has my life.  I have entered another stage of life in which I am beginning to live my dreams and once again do things that I want to do (not HAVE to do).

Earlier in the week I started my writing course.  Doing something by myself for myself is something rather foreign for me.  I would do ANYTHING for someone else, but when it came to doing something for me, I would back up, shake my head and say thanks but no thanks.

I am celebrating the fact that I had the courage to enroll in this course, find my way there on my own and that I faced a group of 20 people I had never met before. Last year at this time I would not have had the courage to take one of these steps, let alone manage the whole string of them.

I have to admit that I did kind of freeze up when trying to introduce myself and tell what I hoped to get out of the course.  But, by the time we had written our first piece and separated into groups to share our work, I had gathered up the courage to offer to read my piece first.  Not because I thought it was so good.  I honestly thought it was horrible.  But who writes amazing stuff the first round anyways?  I just wanted to push the envelope and not be the last one standing.  Jump in and be brave.  Something I usually am not.  I also offered to do some “extra” work that the course instructor will tear to pieces and place red marks all over…oh, I meant make comments on.  He said to leave lots of room for comments.  Hmmm am I ready for that?  Yep, I sure am.  Throw everything at me.  I am ready to take any comments to help improve my work and help me grow as a writer.

Yesterday I had an orientation day at work, which was no more than watching some mind-numbing computer videos and being tested at the end of each one.  Real work starts next week, and I have to say that I am eager, willing and ready.  Nervous as well, but so looking forward to having a life outside of my four walls and doing something for me.

            I hope that my life will become as comfortable and full of colour as this season of fall.

           How is this new season treating you?

Life’s Journey

Life's Journey-Melody Campbell

Are you feeling unsatisfied with your life?  Is there a nagging feeling that you want or need something more? Yet, you don’t know exactly what that something more is?   Do you feel a pull from responsibilities or people in your life that is taking you down a road you are not completely satisfied with?

Every person has a different journey to take in life.  We can follow the road forward, making choices of which path to follow when we hit a crossroad, or we can just stop and enjoy the scenery right where we are.

I have done enough sight seeing for a while, thank you very much!  As nice as the place that I am at in my journey is, I really need some new scenery in my life.  Something fresh that will challenge me and make me feel alive, not like I just exist.

This journey is not a race.  We must take our time.  It is something to embark upon with a spirit of adventure, and an open mind to find out where we truly want to end up.  We must shut out all outside influences and listen to our heart.  For in listening to our heart we will connect with our spirit, which will guide us, in which direction we need to go when we are ready to move forward.

If you are at a place in your journey in which you are comfortable, then great!  You are at the place you are meant to be at this moment.  But, if you feel like something is missing, like you are lost or ambling aimlessly, then quiet your mind.  Listen to your heart.  Your spirit will guide you.  Be patient, because this may take time.  But, when the feeling strikes, don’t fight it.  Rather, embrace it and take steps in the direction it is guiding you. Continue to listen to your heart as you make each step.  If it feels right, then great.  If not, then also listen to your heart and change your direction accordingly.

I have taken my first small steps.  This week I begin to travel an unknown road in facing the start of a new job and also the start of a writing course.  I can never seem to do one thing at a time!  I am nervous, excited and full of anticipation as to where this new path will lead.  The butterflies in my stomach turn to bats flapping around in there at times, but I know that I will survive this, and come out the better for it.

What point are you at in your journey?  Are you just enjoying the scenery, or is your heart leading you forward to a new destination?

Mom with Control Issues

I’d like to know how I became the personal servant of everyone in my family.

My nine-year old daughter was doing homework last night.  When she made a mistake which needed correcting she turned to me and asked,  “Mom can you get me an eraser?” She was convinced that this was my job. I proceeded to tell her that God gave her two feet, and she was perfectly capable to use them to walk over to go get an eraser herself.  She actually got upset with me!

This is just one example of many that I have been noticing lately.  “Mom, can you get the ketchup?  Mom can I have a drink? (which means mom has to get it) Where is my knife/fork/spoon?   The list goes on and on and on.

I have to face reality.  I have been an enabler.  I have let this go on.  I have to step back and allow my kids to be more independent.  I need  them to be more independent.  I find myself getting frustrated with the constant demands.

I guess I am still stuck in the toddler era, even though my kids are well past that stage.  Granted, sometimes it is just easier for Mom to take care of things, so I won’t have to listen to the complaining, won’t have to nag them to do things right (aka Mom’s way), wont have to deal with the mess that is almost inevitable to ensue.  But, with four people constantly relying on me (hubby equals kid number 4 at home) it does get tiring.

Sigh.  I confess.  I have control issues.  I must let go so my kids can grow up.  Otherwise they won’t see the need to be independent and won’t experience the self-confidence that comes along with independence. 

Nourishing the Soul

So much of my life has been running a race towards health and happiness.  Always running, but never winning the gold.   The ultimate marathon.

I’ve always been an all or nothing type of girl, but recently have been trying to become the turtle in the race.  Slow, but steady.  Focused on the end, but not in a hurry to get there.  One excruciating baby step at a time.  Accepting falls as the learning curve.  Not an excuse to give up.

Why is it that as parents of young children, we tend to put everyone else first, and then wonder why we don’t have energy left to take care of ourselves?  Why is it so hard to put ourselves first?  If we don’t put gas in our cars, we know they won’t run.  We need to properly fuel ourselves in order to function fully for our family.

I noticed this past week that my energy was waning again.  My desire to do anything was next to nonexistent.  A few years ago I would have just fallen into this downward spiral and sunk lower and lower.  My mood would plummet;  I would be angry at everything and everyone—myself most of all.

Now, as soon as I feel my mood sinking, I do a self-evaluation.  How have I been eating?  Have I been engaging in physical activity on a regular basis?  Have I had “me” time?  My answers at the end of this week are that I have been sliding to “fast food” (boxed meals or breads/pastas) and not including those nutritious, energizing fruits and veggies.  I also haven’t been engaging my body in regular physical activity, which amazingly, is the best way I now know to boost my energy.

So, today I focused on the healthy eating and getting the whole family active and moving.  It’s the perfect weather here in Southern Ontario for hiking, so that’s what we did today.

 lookout trail

Two hours of braving a narrow path that had tree roots, rocks, hills and valleys along a precarious edge of the escarpment had my heart pumping out of my chest—not because of physical exertion, but more for concern that one of my three children would slip and fall over the edge.  All this, so that we could reach a look-out point over the town and capture the magnificent view below.  Yes, the view was amazing, enthralling even, but oh so short-lived with three kids.

the Lookout
the Lookout

I did let nature soothe my soul.  Deep breaths of (hopefully) fresh air.  Managing to block out any whining, complaining, or bickering, I thoroughly absorbed the serene feeling of being in the forest, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  Everything was blocked out but the feel of my feet pounding the packed dirt path and the sound of the wind whispering through the leaves in the canopy of trees overhead. Further on, the gentle swooshing of water cascading over a cliff in the distance further soothed my senses.  Rays of sunlight flickered on the path in front of me, as the  breeze cooled my warm skin.

 the waterfall

It was a great outing.  I feel great today.  I have taken care of myself, both body and soul.  Who would have thought that a simple hike could be so “nourishing”?  

Fears

I have been wrestling with the feeling that I am only existing, not actually living. This has led me to contemplate what it is that needs to change in order for me to feel like I am living again.

In my contemplations I realized that I have once again gotten stuck in my comfort zone.    In order to move out of my comfort zone means that I have to face my fears.  But, it is so much easier to use my fears to keep me from moving forward.

              Fear is actually a good thing.  It means we realize that something needs to be done.  If we don’t feel fear, we won’t make changes, because we aren’t acknowledging that anything needs to change.  The key is not to let fear paralyse you.

I have gone through this before.  I was married very young, had a daughter, and when she was in high school, I figured it was time to start thinking of myself and where I wanted to go with my life.  I had left my first husband, and was ready to start a new, improved life. 

I decided to face my fears, and go to college.  I picked a career that had interested me since I had been in high school, and I dove in to it.  Then: surprise, surprise, I discovered that I was pregnant.  This was the last thing I expected.  I hadn’t used birth control ever.  I had tried many different things to get pregnant again after my daughter was born, and never succeeded.  I was due one semester before I was to complete my degree.

This started a new phase in my life, albeit not the new phase I was anticipating.  This pregnancy turned my whole life upside down and challenged everything I knew.  (A whole other story to get in to)

To make a long story short, I have basically become a recluse.  I had three children within three years and they have kept me busy for the last 9 years.   I chose to be a stay at home mom, because I wanted to be the one to raise my children.  I wanted to see all the firsts, be completely involved in their lives.

After nine years of giving all I have, I now feel that I am just existing, once again.  I ache for more adult stimulation, yet am afraid to put myself out there.

 I know a job would help financially as well as mentally, yet I am afraid that I won’t be able to handle the mom plus job scenario.  Even though I know a million women do it every day. 

But they don’t have MY kids who need ME!  My inner voice screams at me.  The voice that is completely happy where she is.  In that darn comfort zone.  Then the other voice screams: Yeah, what about me?!?  The one who needs social interaction (not just with single digit aged people), the one that craves some excitement, some creativity, and some sense of fulfillment derived from experiences outside of my family. 

There is the issue of following my dreams, and making a difference in the world.  How has all this become so scary?  How did I end up in that darn comfort zone again? 

I do believe I am at a point in my life that it is time to face my fears again.  Dive in and feel them.   Deal with those fears and soar with the feeling that comes along with it.  For it will be in feeling the fear and conquering it that I will know that I am not only alive, but also LIVING.