As I find myself grower closer and closer to old-fartdom, stories like these stir up a voice in my mind that is beginning to sound, not like my mother (have you had that experience, you say something and there is a weird echo deep in your brain that overlays your words with your mother's voice?), but now I'm sounding like my freaking grandmother.
"Spoiled little brats," that voice sneers. "Don't know what easy is."
Then I may or may not begin a "Jantrum" (new term, shamelessly stolen from Jason, loosely defined as me ranting about something). This bit of "news" stirred up the old self esteem rant.
Self esteem in children is not earned by being told how great/special/talented/wonderful said child is. It is not earned by getting a trophy or ribbon for everything the child does. It is not earned by wrapping children in bubble wrap and never letting a harsh or discouraging thing appear in their little worlds.
Self esteem is built by a child who, in a loving, positive environment, is allowed to accomplish tasks on their own, allowed to initially fail, encouraged and supported in trying again after failure and then succeeding. Or trying and succeeding at something the child was afraid to do.
Self esteem can not come from an outside source. It is internal. My son was in public school during the "you are special" educational blitz. Even in kindergarten, he knew (on his own) getting a ribbon for crappy work was bogus. Most kids did, even if they kept it to themselves, they knew if they did or did not deserve the accolades they were receiving.
But then I read something like this and I think: teens and young adults are self centered. It is what they are supposed to be, to an extent. They are developmentally in the stage of life where they are breaking away from their families and deciding what they want their lives to be...college decisions, work decisions..they have to be some what self-centered for that.
But you know, America loves its labels. Loves to splash around that broad brush and get a little on everyone so we don't have to think, don't have to look at people and statistics objectively, but can merely dismiss or support the labels that we like or not.
Thor sez: But, I am special.