Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Fountain of Love

This blog post comes about after reading a post by Clint at Milwaukee ID10T entitled “Self Esteem.” Surprisingly enough, I don’t agree with Clint, but this time, not in the adversarial sense … merely because I think that while his intentions are good, I think he misses a larger point.

He writes how his eight-year old daughter beat him at Connect Four. I’ve played this game and it is challenging. Clint says that she and he had played 10-15 times previously … all victories for Dad. But this time he could tell she was looking a few moves ahead and when she did defeat him, he was very proud and he could tell that her confidence had grown ... and her self esteem.

In this sense, Clint is correct. Anytime a child is victorious in game playing will a boost to self esteem occur. Playing is the way children learn and positive experiences are the desired result. But being victorious is not the only way in which improvements in self esteem occur, as Clint hints at. What about the 10-15 times that she was not victorious at Connect Four? According to Clint’s statement, her self esteem should not have improved. She did not win.

Now, in a sense, that’s not fair because I’ve no doubt that Clint loves his daughter very much. Just the fact that he is playing games with her, teaching her how to hit a baseball, how to ride a bicycle, taking the time to be with his daughter … all are signs of a deep love. I’ll bet that during those times that his daughter was unsuccessful at hitting a baseball, fell off her bike or was defeated at Connect Four, Clint was right there offering advice and encouragement.

It’s so sad that more children have not had the opportunity to experience the love that Clint’s daughter has experienced in her short life. She knows she is worthwhile and she is beginning to learn that she can accomplish anything to which she bends her mind or will. How does she know this? She know this because of love. Love is the fountain from which self esteem flows.

It’s sad that our schools have been forced to acknowledge that a lack of self esteem is so apparent in so many of its students, and it’s sad that the schools have even had to try to rectify this deficiency. Think of all the turmoil in Milwaukee’s inner city. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Unfortunately, artificially encouraging self esteem in school usually does not overcome the lack of nurturing at home.

A child that is not nurtured and cared for will not have self esteem … no matter how many victories that child may achieve. I wonder if Mike Tyson, who achieved greatness for a short period of time, wouldn’t be willing to give all that up for parents who cared.

So, I am not going to get into the ulterior reasons why Clint wrote his post, even though I suspect it was not all about his daughter succeeding. Rather, thank you, Clint, for the look into your life and the lives of your family. I hope the self esteem your daughter is developing will be enough to ward off all the hate in the world and help her to find that which is good and to contribute good to the world.

5 Swings of the bat:

Anonymous said...

A couple of corrections for you Tim - We probably played a total of 2000 times over the course of the last 4+ years that we have been playing and just 10-15 that night.

Self esteem is also earned when she almost wins and is only a move or two away from trapping me into giving her the victory. When she comes that close she also gains a little confidence. It is just like the first time that she beat me at Candy Land, Checkers, Trouble, Uno, War (the card game), or any host of other games that we do play.

Connect Four was the last game that she had yet to beat me at. Because of her earlier successes at other games she knew that she would beat me eventually. Now we will start working on Chess.

The post was not inspired by anything political or mean spirtited as you may have suggested. It was inspired by a phone call I was on that night. A relative asked me if I had ever 'let' (wink wink nod nod) her win and any of the games. When I told her 'no' we had a 'discussion' about self-esteem. That is what motivated it.

So once again Tim your Hatred of all things Conservative have led to your jumping to conclusions about someones motives. Remind you of an incident in your neighborhood regarding an asshole behind the wheel of an SUV??

Anonymous said...

Geez, Clint. ...because I think that while his intentions are good... sure doesn't sound like ...Hatred of all things Conservative... Perhaps he thinks you had another reason to write that post (which was very nice, by the way) but he chose not to speculate on them. It didn't sound to me like he meant anything "mean-spirited" there, although I can't speak for Tim.

Just sayin', this was a nice post about you being a good father, and wishing that all children had good parents who care about their children. That's the way I took it.


Other Side said...

I speculated that perhaps your post was motivated by the efforts of public schools to enhance the self esteem of students ... considering that you have shown in the past to be an opponent of public schooling.

Like Mixter suggested, I was moved by your post and the time you spend with your daughter. I still think you have it backwards regarding self esteem, though. (I wouldn't admit to being defeated at games by an eight-year old ... lol)

Anyway, perhaps you should look closer at yourself ... your hate is showing.

Btw: I have had a number of rational e-mail discussions with conservatives regarding the post you mention. I had hoped that you and I might. Obviously that is not possible.

Ta ta

Julie said...

Why is it if you say anything to a conservative and you lean to the left, you hate all things conservative? I wouldn't suppose that of a conservative.

I'm just glad there's a father out there who plays games with his kids. Too many dads are either not there or leave that kind of interaction up to their mother.

Other Side said...

I don't know. Clint and I had a disagreement of sorts a while back. He can't move on. I was really trying to be complimentary of him and also trying to have a discussion.

Oh well. I must hate conservatives.

And if that's the truth, then I hate Bush and I hate Christians and I hate corporations and on and on ... the slippery slope arguments these people use are ridiculous.