Downfalls of the Self Esteem Movement

Ever notice how society tells us to heap endless praise (often insincere or undeserved) on children and youth, being afraid to offer constructive criticism?  Do you wonder how we got to the point where every child must get an award at school or in competitive events, instead of advocating that awards be earned or won?
I grew up under this era of the "self-esteem" movement, always earning a ribbon at swim meets whether I was first-place or sixth-place (don't see that at the Olympics!) and in getting a trophy for every season of baseball that I played.  Despite being raised in this generation, it also seems that this "self-esteem" movement has continued to progress to the point that it has gone overboard.  It is worrisome to see some of the statistics that show the effects of such a culture.
In an article titled "U.S. Teens Brimming with Self-Esteem," some interesting trends are noted concerning teenagers of today:
  • "more likely to claim they are "A" students with high IQs -- even though other research shows that today's students do less homework than their counterparts did in the 1970s."
  • "confidence has crossed over into overconfidence"
  • "decades of relentless, uncritical boosterism by parents and school systems may be producing a generation of kids with expectations that are out of sync with the challenges of the real world"
  • "compared to their counterparts from the '70s, today's youth also tended to rate themselves as more intelligent and were more likely to say they were "completely satisfied" with themselves"
  • "setting goals for yourself is a good thing. It's just when those goals are wildly unrealistic, then that can cause trouble for everyone"
  • "'These kids didn't raise themselves, they got these ideas from somewhere,' Twenge said. With Mom and Dadhanding out endless praise, kids today readily believe they are somehow superior, she said. And teachers aren't blameless, either: According to Twenge, research shows that high school teachers now give out an "A" grade more easily than their counterparts did in the 1970s, even though today's high school students report doing less homework than students from that era."
As parents, teachers, and mentors of the children and youth of today, are we quick to flatter those we influence and raise?  Or are we providing a balance of accurate and deserved encouragement and praise along with loving correction, rebuke, and exhortation?
Let us not forget the problem of sin that exists in all of our lives.
Romans 12:3b "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought"
Jeremiah 9:23-24 " 23Thus says the LORD, "Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; 24but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things," declares the LORD."
Proverbs 29:5 "A man who flatters his neighbor is spreading a net for his steps."

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