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Tuesday, April 3, 2018



Self-esteem is very important.  Children should be raised feeling good about themselves. In order to assure self-esteem in our children we have eliminated failure.  Disappointment detracts from one’s self-esteem.  Failure leads to anxiety, lethargy, and main-lining heroin. 

Today’s children are fortunate in that we have learned the importance of instant gratification and we seek to eliminate failure and disappointment. 

When I was a wee lad my Dad used to take me bowling.  In those days they had these things called gutters.  If you threw the ball poorly it would slide into the gutter and you would hit zero pins.  My father never threw a “gutter ball.”  I seldom threw anything else.  I think the result was it gave me very low self-esteem.

On the few occasions where I did avoid the gutter and knocked down some pins it was very exciting!

I took my youngest son bowling years ago and they have gotten got rid of gutters.  Now they raise “bumpers” out of the gutters for little children and errant throws bounce off the bumpers and the ball always knocks over some pins.  Children who bowl today don’t even try to throw the ball down the lane; they just wail away at the bumpers and hope for the best.  It seems like great fun, except when they only knock down a few pins they mope and whine a lot.

I don’t remember moping and whining.

When I was the same wee lad, my Dad put up a basketball hoop on our driveway.  It was regulation height and we used a regulation sized ball.  Of course my friends and I couldn’t palm the basketball like the pros and we had to heave it with all we had to reach the basket.  We seldom actually put the ball in the basket.  I think my self-esteem suffered as a result.

When we did make a basket it was great fun.

I notice kids playing basketball today use a small ball that they can hold with one hand. The basket is lowered to where even the chubby kids can reach up and slam the ball into the hoop.  They dunk the ball just like the pros.  They hardly ever heave the ball to the basket, they prefer to dunk it.  They never miss.  Their self-esteem must be very high.

It seems the kids do not play basketball for very long…I guess they get bored with success.

Things are so much better for children today.  Training wheels keep them from falling off their bikes, course it seems to take forever before the training wheels come off.  No one loses at sports because they don’t keep score.  Keeping score just means someone loses.  It is apparently more important for no one to lose than it is for anyone to win.  If you show up you get a trophy…gee I’m so proud!  Just look at that self-esteem.  Everyone is on the honor roll.  Instead of high grades for high achievement, we have lower expectations and reward any achievement.  Self-esteem is just oozing out of today’s children.

Hey, Billy ate a carrot, Jane dunked a basketball, Larry got a trophy, Sally can add, LaMarr hit a ball off a tee, Lucy played a kazoo, and Tommy drew a tree!

Atta boy, atta girl…High Five!  


  1. You are absolutely right...we make things way too easy for the little goomers...then they get in to the real world of education and work and the handlebars fall off pretty quickly. It doesn't do harm for them to 'lose' once in a teaches sportsmanship.

  2. It was bad enough when they started making that smaller basketball for girls.

  3. Opposition in all things. I think that's what makes life so much fun. We'd all like to win but I've learned more through my failures about myself and how to handle challenges than any winning moment.

  4. My comment moderation is down so a comment by SFM was published, I did not and will not read his comments, but a comment sent to me off line by another blogger indicated this person is still angry and unhappy and something less nice that I will not repeat. This is why I do not read your comments, but keep trying, you can't poke when you are ignored.

    1. I, in all innocence, read that comment. This is a sad sad little person indeed. Good idea to delete it.

  5. I suppose there's a line.

    You want to encourage young people to keep trying, and trying harder, but at the same time, you can't erase the difference between a job well done and a job not well done.

    Because I remember being a kid, and a) I knew when I was being patronized, and b) I knew when adults were letting me win. And letting me win was not a win. I knew that. False praise is insulting, even for a pretty mediocre kid.

  6. That whole system is screwed if you ask me. Failure and disappointment build character and teach the child to try harder. Trophies must be earned, not handed out like cupcakes at a birthday party. No wonder the business world is in a mess, all those kids who grew up getting things without trying are now at a loss when it comes to actually working for the money, for the business to succeed.

  7. I learned in child psychology that you aren't supposed to praise accomplishments, but rather praise the actions of the child ("I like the way you throw that ball" rather than "Good job making the basket").

  8. Failure is a great motivator to figure out how to do better. The only way to learn to hit a baseball is to keep trying when you fail (and Ted Williams, perhaps the greatest hitter of baseballs ever, pointed out that even the very best hitters of baseballs fail far more often than they succeed). An older friend of mine used to say, "if you want to be esteemed, make yourself estimable". . .

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  10. Good grief, when did bowling become like pool for kids where they bank the ball off the bumper? Totally agree with you Joe. A steady diet of phony success kills the desire to improve.

  11. This is part of what comes from trying to raise good kids instead of good adults, and it does not work.

  12. Success is not a good teacher, failure makes you humble.
    ~Shah Rukh Khan

    (I have no idea who he is, but I gotta look it up now!)