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"Self-Esteem Backfires"

Newsweek published a story in its Science section (July 13,1998) titled, "You're OK, I'm Terrific: Self-Esteem Backfires". The story bemoans the fact that following an assertion by a prominent psychologist 21 years ago, schools began to adopt a goal of instilling a child with "self-esteem", which would inoculate the child "against drug use, teen pregnancy, bad grades and just about everything else short of the common cold."

The article pointed out that new research is demonstrating that artificially inflated self-esteem is "potentially dangerous," in that unjustified self-esteem can create a narcissism which is "supersensitive to criticism or sleights." Researcher Dr. Brad Bushman, psychology professor at Iowa State indicated that Luke Woodham, convicted of killing his mother and two classmates in Oct. 1998 in Pearl, Mississippi, fit that profile.

Dr. Martin Seligman, a president of the American Psychological Association, stated, "Schools often contribute to the problem by viewing self-esteem as a cause of success rather than the result of achievement."

A U.S. Department of Education survey indicated that two-thirds of our high school students couldn't read at their own grade level. Furthermore, 9.3 million Americans were functionally illiterate.

Most educators are in their profession because they care about children and want to make a difference. However, because schools are inheriting the behavioral problems and other residue from broken homes, dysfunctional families, abuse, etc., they are assuming - and in most cases, are being given - the responsibility to fix the children.

Tragically for everyone, though, some of the strategies and "remedies" that are being employed to respond to this crisis actually are counterproductive and even very destructive for the child, family, and society. The self-indulgent philosophies and ideologies of many new school programs are alien and hostile to Christ and His truth, and they are perpetuated by individuals and institutions that have their own social and political agendas.

With the systematic expulsion of the Christian basis for truth in our schools and culture, there is an obvious vacuum with nothing left but finite and corrupted forms of humanism.

"...upon this rock I will build My church..." Matt.16:18

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