Over the past few months I have heard more and more rumblings that the whole self esteem movement is not as effective as we once thought. I certainly have had my questions. It appears we have created a Lake Wobegon Effect where all the children are above average. We have now raised a generation of children that do not know what failure is. Is that really healthy? I think back to my school days. I knew who the smartest kid in the class was and I knew it wasn’t me. Did that stifle my drive and desire to learn, no way. (Thank God the world is run by C students) I have also felt that is one of the really values of sports. You learn to test you limits. You learn how to fail. You get up and try again. What we have done with Physical Education is an outgrowth of the whole self esteem issue. We have taken the teeth and substance out of it. We make the kids believe they must wear heart rate tech them how to use a lot of equipment to stay ”fit.” We need to be realistic with the kids. I am certainly not espousing a return to the drill sergeant approach I was raised with, but we a re raising another generation of zombies who have no sense of who they are and what their limits are. I am reading a thought provoking book called Think by Michael R. Le Gault. His point in this regard is that:
“Boundless reassurance to children that they are good to bolster their self esteem is not an act of love – it is an act of sabotage.”
It pervades all levels of society and all levels of sport. My mantra is to do it right. If it is not done right then correct. I had a situation where a high draft pick for the Mets was doing a drill and putting out no effort and doing it incorrectly at that. I went over and told him his effort was unacceptable and showed him again how to do it correctly. The other coaches were astounded that I would single this guy out. They were afraid to coach him. There is a time to coddle and a time to be accountable. 50,000 fans in Shea Stadium will hold him accountable. If I do not prepare him for this I am remiss. We are held accountable, let’s hold our children and our athletes accountable.