Building Self-esteem

Helping children and adolescents develop into mature adults is a huge part of what we do in education. As teacher, coach, and counselor for over 3 decades, I’ve had to make many tough decisions, knowing that they would benefit my students and athletes. Those decisions were never met with celebration … not in the short run at least!

I strive to create an environment in which they can grow into thriving independent and interdependent individuals who are aware of their gifts and talents, capable of making mature decisions, and dedicated to continual growth. If I don’t push them beyond what they are comfortable with – in fact, if I don’t push myself out of my comfort zones – then growth stops. Randy Pausch in his book, The Last Lecture put it this way,

There is really only one way to teach kids how to develop self-esteem. You give them something they can’t do, they work hard until they find they can do it, and you just keep repeating the process. 

So my challenge for you this week is to look at yourself first and ask, “What can I do build my self-esteem – my knowledge of what I can do and what I need to improve?” And then ask, “What am I doing to help my students/athletes grow into who they were meant to be? What, if anything, am I doing anything to hold them back?”

Make your growth (and that of your students) intentional, rather than reactive!


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