RYC Youth Educator Jessica Lodato helped Rye's 4th graders understand self-esteem: confidence in one’s own worth and abilities.
In a previous lesson we discussed respect; respect for others, for the rules and of ourselves. This week in the fourth grade the children and I discussed self-esteem and the role it plays in self-respect. In practicing self-respect we need to accept our own differences, thoughts and feelings as important, good and valuable. It is about standing up for and having confidence and pride in our ideals and accomplishments, and having kindness towards ourselves in the areas we might need to work on. It is also taking good care of ourselves physically through rest, diet and exercise.
Self-esteem is a way of thinking and feeling about oneself: feeling proud of what one can do and believing in oneself, even when we don’t succeed at first. It is seeing and appreciating our own good qualities, such as being capable. This feeling helps us show and feel respect for ourselves and for others as well.
Together with the 4th graders, we talked about what healthy self-esteem and low self-esteem look like.
Kids with a healthy sense of self-esteem tend to feel good about themselves and proud of what they can do. They believe in themselves even when they don’t succeed at first. They truly know that if they try their best they will improve. They can identify their own good qualities and feel well liked, loved and respected. Kids with healthy self-esteem accept themselves, even when they make mistakes. The children and I discussed how a person with healthy self-esteem believes in themself and has the courage to try new things and go after their goals.
On the other hand, kids with low self-esteem may feel that they are not as good as others. They think mostly negatively of themselves and may focus more on the times when they have failed than when they have succeeded. Kids with low self-esteem can be quite hard on themselves and give up easily. They generally don’t feel liked, accepted or respected. It can be hard to feel respect from others when you don’t feel respect for yourself!
Even individuals with the healthiest self-esteem can question themselves from time to time. It’s not only natural, it is good! Questioning ourselves helps us to grow. It is good to have some strategies to further grow our self-esteem and to help us in those moments of question.