Posts tagged " self-respect "

The Man in the Glass

November 20th, 2018 Posted by Homeschooling, Practical Parenting, Reading Recommendations 6 comments

I’ve written about how Justice William C. Goodloe set our family on a path of appreciating poetry. One of the first poems he recited for us, and set our children to memorizing, came to mind when we were answering an Ask the Rabbi question. I thought I would share it with you. (This is the version I saw. Pelf is an archaic word for money. I’m not sure if there was so little punctuation in the original.)

The Man in the Glass by Dale Wimbrow

When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf
and the world makes you king for a day
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
and see what that man has to say

For it isn’t your father or mother or wife
who judgment upon you must pass
The fellow whose verdict counts the most in your life
is the one staring back from the glass

Some people may think you a straight-shooting chum
and call you a wonderful guy
But the guy in the glass says you’re only a bum
if you can’t look him straight in the eye

He’s the fellow to please never mind all the rest
for he’s with you clear up to the end
And you’ve passed your most dangerous difficult test
if the man in the glass is your friend

You may fool the whole world down the pathway
of life and get pats on the back as pass
But your final reward will be heartaches and
tears if you’ve cheated the man in the glass. 


Building Self-Respect in Children

November 4th, 2018 Posted by Practical Parenting No Comment yet

Chase, the father of a five-year-old girl as well as two boys, aged three and one, wrote to my husband and me asking how to build self-respect in his children. Chase read an ‘Ask the Rabbi’ answer we wrote on the topic of self-esteem vs. self-respect, but is looking for more practical advice – perfect fodder for this Practical Parenting column.   

He writes, “I often tell my kids I’m proud of them and I appreciate them. I tell them of all the amazement I see in them. Would this be too much on the self-esteem track?”

Dear Chase,

You are in a wonderful position. You, and I assume your wife, are consciously thinking about how you communicate with your children and what you want them to value. You have a wonderful adventure ahead of you.

One-year-olds are naturally full of self-respect even though it sounds odd to think about them in that way. Self-respect follows achievement. Babies are constantly learning new skills and conquering challenges. We get excited when a baby starts walking or talking and they love the attention we bestow on them for doing so, but they would be excited even without us. Something within most children pushes them to get upright and move and thrills them when they master new abilities.

As our kids get older, we sometimes inadvertently dampen their internal excitement and make them reliant instead on our approval. Schools often do this when they tamp down the natural desire for knowledge and instead train students to focus on stickers or grades. Parents too, can diminish the joy in drawing a picture or building a tower by being overly effusive. Instead of looking to outdo her own creation, the child starts looking to get a bigger external response.



What’s wrong with self-esteem?

July 5th, 2017 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 10 comments

I heard you briefly refer to self esteem and the idea of promoting self-esteem versus self-respect on your weekly Podcast. 

I grew up in the era of self esteem, however, my parents always spoke of respect. Please go into detail on your thoughts as to why promoting self-esteem degrades oneself.

Thank you,

 Lane (father of five)


Dear Lane,

Quite a lot has been written about the self-esteem movement that, from its beginnings in 1969, had a huge, and mostly negative, effect on educational and cultural trends. We urge you to do some research on this topic. There are so many articles on the subject, many of which acknowledge the damage done by this movement.

No matter how flawed the movement is, it has pervaded modern culture. Unfortunately, the results can be seen all around us.


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