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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 5, 2007 / 17 Shevat, 5767

Down with self-esteem

By Paul Greenberg


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Remember self-esteem? It was one of the sillier — and more dangerous — fads in educational circles, which keep going round and round. The theory was that promoting kids' self-esteem was going to convince them they were great. And it just might. But that's no guarantee they are great.


On the contrary, this kind of psychological scam could have the opposite effect. Having been told how well they're doing throughout their well-insulated school years, these kids could be in for the shock of their nice, cushioned lives when they're thrown into the real world. And discover that their education wasn't so great after all. Or that a better word for it might be shoddy. The realization might be so crushing they'd just give up.


Some of us had hoped this fad had come and gone. It had. But now it's come back. Bad ideas apparently never die; they just go underground for a while. There they lurk, like an infection, waiting to crop up again in the strangest places. As in a statement from Arkansas' new governor, Mike Beebe.


Governor Beebe came out against schools' sending reports home about overweight kids lest we hurt their "self-esteem." What kind of a report? It's called a body-mass index, which measures how fat or skinny a kid is-based on factors like height, weight, age and sex.


Why be concerned about kids' weight? Because obesity is a real problem in this country. It saps kids' mental and physical development, and can lead to serious problems down the road-like diabetes, stroke and heart attacks.


Overweight kids are also prime candidates for psychological disorders like anorexia and bulimia. Adolescents are notoriously sensitive about their appearance and their peers' opinion of it. The teasing that fatties get in school can be cruel — and lead them to do dangerous things.


A simple report from school about a child's weight might get parents' attention, or even move them to do something about their kid's dietary habits or lack of exercise. It's worth a try. We check kids' eyesight and hearing, don't we? Why not their physical fitness?


Because we're told it would hurt their self-esteem. Well, some kids have entirely too much self-esteem already. A geometry teacher I once knew had a phrase for it: climbing Fool's Hill. The tumble down can be painful. Are teachers even allowed to say such things any more? Or has it been decided that folk wisdom is psychologically impairing, too?


Some of these kids may be all et up with self-esteem, but they're woefully short on self-respect, which is quite another thing. Self-respect flows from self-discipline and the real achievement it leads to. It doesn't depend on psychological gamesmanship.


And it's not just kids. Have you taken a good look lately at American politics, academia, fashion, journalism and public life in general? It over-runneth with the kind of self-esteem that cometh before a fall.


There is such a thing as unearned grace — don't I know it! — but self-esteem is unearned folly. Its fruit is pride, not humility. You can tell a lot about an educational system by its vocabulary. When Calvinistic terms like grace and works are replaced by educantisms like self-esteem, you know the system's in trouble. Or is even to think on grace and works now considered a violation of the separation of church and state?


The mere mention of a religious idea in public has been known to make some of our more advanced thinkers break out in hives and litigation. As for those of us inclined to sneak a biblical allusion into our prose now and then, we need not fear; our "educated" classes may no longer recognize it.


The theory behind the Cult of Self-Esteem is simple: First get the cart, then put it before the horse. Just feel good about yourself and achievement will follow automatically. It would be too much to call this approach instant gratification; it's really more like pre-gratification.


What we have here is one more high-cost detour into the weedy lots of educanto. What a pity the self-esteem fad wasn't lost forever in all that verbal high grass.


Want to build real self-esteem, the kind that is the fruit of self-respect and not just an inadequate substitute for it?


Expect, even insist on, competence. Don't pretend it's there when it isn't. If that sounds too hard, that's the catch with self-respect — it has to be earned. Self-esteem, on the other hand, costs little or nothing. And it's worth just what you pay for it.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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