I have been thinking a lot lately about the correlation between hard work and self esteem.
I used to think that self esteem had a lot to do with positive reinforcement, mainly from the parents, and from a very young age. But I recently read that self esteem has nothing to do with that. It has a lot to do with accomplishing things a la hard work.
I thought long and hard about that, and it made a lot of sense to me. I was raised with six brothers and sisters. Nine people in my family. That makes a lot of mess. And so, a lot to clean up. And so, we had a lot of opportunity to work. As long as I remember, I had chores. Growing up we didn't have a dishwasher, and whenever my parents talked about buying one, we would tease them that they didn't need to buy a dishwasher, they just needed to have another kid because the housework was always delegated between us. We were always taught to work hard, and to do it right the first time instead of doing it over. Oh the stories I could tell about having to do it over!
Thinking back, I don't think anyone in my family ever really had self esteem issues. That is not to say, no one was ever depressed (teenage years are hard, I tell you!) but all in all, there were no real self esteem problems.
And so, I want to teach my children to work hard. I want them to know the satisfaction of a job well done. The joy and exhilaration of completing something difficult. I want them to be able to accomplish much, because they know about dedication and how to apply themselves. I want most of all for them to have a healthy sense of self.
And so, I am doing what my parents did to me. I am exploiting my children and their eagerness to help me. And right now work is fun. I hope that I can keep it fun for them always. For if they know how to work hard, they will know how to be happy.
A great and wonderful man, President Gordon B. Hinckley once said, "The secret at this age is to keep busy,” he explained. “Work, work, work is the best antidote for loneliness, incapacity or any other thing that happens to impede your progress. That's the only antidote I know. It's work that has saved me and has been an offset to the sorrow and loneliness I have felt."
And so, I plan to follow his advice.
P.S. Don't forget to bid on one of Heather's blankets! They are beautiful, and all proceeds will go to help the victims of the disasters of Japan.