Self Esteem / Part 1
In the United States today, there are many social and cultural aspects that are rated. Discussion by the media is lent to those ratings when any segment of the US scores at either extreme end of the rating scale. I venture to say that any reader, during the past month, has heard something about an extreme. For example, the cost of living, unemployment or employment rate, consumption of natural resources, tax brackets, division of wealth, crime rate—all mentioned by the media daily. We hear these percentages, nod our heads in acknowledgement, and accept their construed reality.
A rating scale noted in the movie, Waiting for Superman, highlights a peculiar characteristic of the United States. Thirty countries were put on a comparative scale that ranked achievement in our schools. The US ranked 30th in math achievement and 21st in science achievement. However, one area stood in contrast to the basement level achievement scores. The United States had the numero uno highest ranking (72%) in student confidence. In the face of very clear data that ranked our academic achievement very low, our kids demonstrate high confidence in their ability to do well. This lends itself to rationale and ignorance of reality instead of figuring out how to actually improve. It’s almost as it we are smiling (beaming, really) as the ship is sinking. In other words, the United States ranks very high in self-esteem . I think it is possibly emblazoned on the bow of the ship. “DOING GREAT” With a smiley face.
Within the traditional wedding vows, a promise is spoken. “To have and to hold, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health”. Most vows align with these ideas when creating a partnership. Promises that are spoken to ensure the partnership will endure. Yet, a perception exists today that marriage is “on the rocks”. Many couples (married or not) are “breaking up” rather than “making up”. People access dating sites to quickly replace one partner with a new one. Breaking up has become far easier to do than figuring out the “for worse”. Why? I note that the rationale is well defined. There are books dedicated to this issue. In the courts, relationship failure is called a disillusionment. This is a well-used term to label a partnership that is no more. I offer that we are a culture that excels at the “for better” and runs for the hills at the “for worse”. We do not have the stamina when it comes to fixing “the worse” scenario constructively with merit instead of fluff. Or finding the patience to forgive yet not forget so that ignoring “the worse” is not possible. Yet we do have that incessant stamina and confidence to insist that we feel good about ourselves in the face of failure.
I’ve considered a few things that might slow the run for the hills when the road gets bumpy. How about monitoring (with love) as we let our kids fall down when they trip over a bump so they can pick themselves up instead of enabling them with our solutions? When the adults fix everything, children do not sharpen their internal instinct to adapt to change and, instead, shield themselves with that warm fuzzy “everything is great” feeling. How about realizing a mistake is OK and essential to doing better? How about we show a little damn respect towards differences so that a conflict can end in resolve instead of a fight to be right? How about considering the merit in a different point of view? How about more discussion and compromise before vows are spoken so there exists even a tiny inkling of the bumps ahead? Because the bumps are the reality, my friends. The bumps usually necessitate some form of change. And change is the only thing that is permanent.
But we continue to find it easier to see the stormy picture but insist that we are weather proof and doing grrrrrrr-reat. I say leave that for Tony the Tiger or get some rah-rah, sis boom bah during the upcoming football season.
Please indulge me in stating that the very popular adage “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” is really the way to transform the “for worse” to much better than before.
Too worn out, too trite, too mo-mo for you? Here’s one better – Post it somewhere if this post has inspired you.
When life gives you grapes,
make some wine.
Let’s face it, a vintage solution.