Self-esteem or self-respect?


I was looking for a favorite quote today…

“We confide in our strength, without boasting of it; we respect that of others, without fearing it. “– Thomas Jefferson

and happened upon the Center for Academic Integrity at Clemson University.  That particular link will lead you to a page of quotes that focus predominately on self-respect.  As someone who as worked in academic administration and has worked with hundreds and hundreds of teens, I must say, Clemson is on to something.  We keep bolstering kids self-esteem, but when do we ever tell them about respecting themselves, their space, their needs?  Maybe this is why we have some kids feeling pressure to dress provocatively, not act with a sense of social responsibility, or live with a broader sense of long-term goals in mind.

Kind of reminds me of a speech one of my teacher friends recently heard.  The speaker was a high school counselor who bascially said, “Enough of boosting self-esteem.  Kids have tons of self-esteem.  What we need are NICE kids…we need to create nice people who grow into nice adults”.

Yeah…what ever happened to nice?  And why is that such a bad word?

Self-respect leads to a respect of others by creating a different kind of awareness.  It requires a type of self-reflection that we don’t encourage in kids or train them to do.  It’s time to start.

Be nice…have self-respect…I like that…pass on the message.


One response to “Self-esteem or self-respect?

  1. Dude, yeah, what DID happen to nice? I’ll be nice to patrons at SPL and they’ll look at me like I’m talking about murdering babies.

    I remember one time I was helping a lady and she asked me where I was from. I answered her honestly, that I was from Detroit. She couldn’t manage to hide her surprise.

    I don’t know why it’s hard to think that people from Detroit can be nice. Well, I suppose anyone who’s spent any amount of time there knows basically everyone’s a jerk. Maybe that’s it.

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