March 25, 2009

Life Lesson: Self-esteem is earned, not given

I’m a big believer in fostering self-esteem in my kids. I praise them when they do something well. I encourage them when they try but don’t quite succeed. If you ask my kids if it’s okay to give up, they’ll look up and tell you, “We don’t give up. We keep trying.”

Of course, these are just words. And while words are fine action, as they say, speaks even louder. Which is why the first time we played Candyland and Swee’Pea landed on the last possible square before winning and then picked the card with the gingerbread man on it and was sent about 300 squares backwards, her old man swooped in to claim victory without missing a beat. It was beautiful. Dancing and chants of “Who’s your Daddy?!” might have taken place. Swee’Pea took it well, however. She wanted a rematch and whooped my butt the next time. (Stupid licorice square!) Her self-esteem seems just fine.

I don’t mess around in other games either. Hide and seek, for example is game where I own them. Not to belittle them or anything but, my kids suck at hiding. I count to 10 with my eyes firmly shut and I find them in about 3 seconds. Then, when it’s my turn to hide, I hide in the garage where they’re not allowed to go and I get at least 20 to 30 minutes of peace and quiet. Good times.

Finally, the kids fancy themselves quite the little runners and like to race each other all the time. I was a pretty good runner in my day and their mother was a 3-time state champion in track and field. So I know they’ve got some good genes to work with. But just because they’re three doesn’t mean they get to win every damn time, does it? Not when I’m around…

I beat them the next time too.


  1. You’re shameless. ;)

    Comment by Deanna — March 25, 2009 @ 11:21 pm

  2. Ooooh! Nothing like a big dose of the real world! My kids like to hide things for the other to find. However, when the finder has looked for about one millisecond, the hider shouts out, “It’s on the fridge!!!!!!!! Here, let me get it for you!”

    Comment by Lynnie — March 26, 2009 @ 3:09 am

  3. My parents miss me and my 2 brothers being kids. (We’re 24, 22 & 17)
    I showed them this video & they’re (right now!) recalling our childhood moments. Similar.
    My parents think Swee’Pea & The Monk are simply too adorable for words!
    (My dad used to ‘compete’ with us just the way you did!!)

    Thank you for jolting old memories fresh into our heads + making our day a better one today.
    God bless!

    Sending love & laughter from Singapore!

    Comment by rawdah — March 26, 2009 @ 5:40 am

  4. Oh the JOY of running! My kids also love to run. I definitely go out of my way to beat them now. Because in a few more years they’ll easily be sprinting by me.

    Comment by Grace — March 26, 2009 @ 7:26 am

  5. That is one of the funniest videos I’ve ever seen. My favorite part was when you filmed yourself cheering. Brilliant!

    Comment by LauraC — March 26, 2009 @ 8:32 am

  6. You really need to be around more people your own age.

    Comment by Grandmother — March 26, 2009 @ 12:46 pm

  7. THAT was hilarious.

    I totally laughed SO loud when I read the part about hiding in the garage for the peace and quiet. (I totally see myself pulling the same thing. Excellent idea, btw!) And my daughter had to ask, “Mom, what you laffin’ ’bout?” … I hadn’t the heart to tell her … because then I couldn’t do it when I get the chance. ^_^

    Comment by Allanna — March 26, 2009 @ 1:27 pm

  8. So hilarious! You totally have the most grounded attitude about kids I know. And it’s awesome.

    Comment by Jane — March 26, 2009 @ 6:02 pm

  9. Oh my, they are so cute! What is it that the Monk says at the end, right before SP so sweetly lets you know that they would like to win too? (And, as usual, I agree with that wise commenter who calls herself “Grandmother.”)

    Comment by Aina — March 26, 2009 @ 9:48 pm

  10. The last time we played Candyland, Peanut refused to go back to the gingerbread square. She took the card, stuck it back into the deck and drew again.

    Who was I to question her?

    Comment by above average joe — March 27, 2009 @ 9:28 am

  11. Oh this gave me a good laugh. I’ve been known to take no prisoners during a game of Zingo. My husband thinks I’m mean but hey- you gotta learn to lose sometime and why shouldn’t I be the one to impart that wisdom on them?

    Comment by Lindsay Lebresco (Graco) — March 27, 2009 @ 10:17 am

  12. That was a riot! I am so glad @LindsayLebresco tweeted your link. Glad my DH is not the only one teaching this type of life lesson. Only he tends to slam dunk the mini basketball over DD/4 into her Little Tykes easyscore basketball hoop. What a sight during March Madness.

    Comment by Karen Hartzell, Graco — March 27, 2009 @ 10:28 am

  13. I must agree with Grandmother.

    Comment by Julie — March 27, 2009 @ 10:46 am

  14. Fantastic!! I couldn’t agree more with what you have to say here. In our house there is a saying; “Every game has a winner and a loser, and you want to be the ‘winner’!” Of course not at all costs. Great video!

    Comment by Kim — March 27, 2009 @ 1:35 pm

  15. That’s great! It’s never to early to learn good sportsmanship.

    Comment by Elena — March 27, 2009 @ 8:33 pm



    (And I’m honestly suprised you didn’t spike the camera in your victory dance)

    Comment by samantha jo campen — March 29, 2009 @ 8:32 pm

  17. My son loves to play “Lightsabers.” I kick his butt. I poke him in the ribs; I boink him on the head and whenever I can, I do that little circular movement and completely disarm him.
    But every now and then he gets old dad on the knee and when he does…oh it’s like crack!

    I think NOT letting them win all the time is critical to their learning how to win–and lose–gracefully.

    Not that they ever do mind you…

    Comment by Dobeman — March 30, 2009 @ 9:30 am

  18. My dad used to open up a can of whoop-ass on us in hide-and-seek too. When we played hide-and-seek inside, he would throw a yellow blanket over himself and chase us around when he found us. We called it the yellow monster game.

    It took me YEARS to realize that he had to do something to spice up the game a little. We were horrible at hiding.

    Comment by Sarah @ — March 30, 2009 @ 3:44 pm

  19. There’s nothing wrong with winning; as long at it’s not them.

    It teaches them how to cope at losing – and it shows them how awesome we are.

    Comment by creative type dad — March 31, 2009 @ 10:05 pm

  20. That was hilarious man! Looks like you have a lot of fun with your family… very refreshing!

    I saw you stumbled across my blog so I thought I would check yours out too!

    I’m glad I did… look forward to reading more.

    Comment by Eric — April 2, 2009 @ 12:01 pm

  21. Haha, adorable.

    You might be in trouble in another 4 or 5 years!

    Comment by Kila — April 9, 2009 @ 11:10 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: