Friday, April 05, 2019

"Love Can Say No"

Judges 14.1-3 NLT

“One day when Samson was in Timnah, one of the Philistine women caught his eye. When he returned home, he told his father and mother, ‘A young Philistine woman in Timnah caught my eye. I want to marry her. Get her for me.’

His father and mother objected. ‘Isn't there even one woman in our tribe or among all the Israelites you could marry?’ they asked. ‘Why must you go to the pagan Philistines to find a wife?’

But Samson told his father, ‘Get her for me! She looks good to me.’

Young Samson needed a strong dose of the “N” word. His parents were too permissive. What Sammy wanted, Sammy got. It did not matter who was inconvenienced or hurt. If it ‘caught his eye’ and ‘looked good’ to Samson, he made a fuss until he got what he wanted. Mom and dad weren’t strong enough to just say “No.”

In his best seller No: Why Kids - of All Ages - Need to Hear It and Ways Parents Can Say It [1], author David Walsh writes a chapter on “Self-Esteem: Kids Need the Real Thing.” He proposes a “Self-Esteem Quiz” reprinted below.  --

Self-Esteem Quiz Answer the following questions Yes or No, depending on whether you think these efforts will help Adam build positive self-esteem.

  1. Adam’s parents praise his performance regardless of the effort.
  2. Adam’s teacher never uses a “red pencil” because he doesn’t want Adam to feel that his work is not good enough.
  3. Adam learns songs and reads books that remind him how special he is.
  4. Mom praises Adam for any effort on chores around the house.
  5. Adam’s parents steer him away from things that might frustrate or discourage him.
  6. When Adam’s teacher corrected him, his parents got upset and called the teacher to complain that she was hurting his self-esteem.
  7. Adam’s parents tell him not to pay attention to what other people think and that “the important thing is to please yourself.”
  8. Adam is learning the most important goal is to “feel good about yourself.”
  9. Adam’s parents don’t want him to feel guilty because they’re afraid that would hurt his self-esteem.
  10. Adam learns that if he loves himself, he will be successful.

“All the above answers should be No because none of these actions will build Adam’s real self-esteem” according to Dr. Walsh. He goes on to describe three self-esteem myths…

-----Myth 1: Self-Esteem Comes First and Leads to Success ---
-----Myth 2: Self-Esteem = Feeling Good ---
-----Myth 3: Stress, Challenge, and Disappointment Damage Self-Esteem.

Samson was called and empowered by God to lead Israel for twenty years. But this man’s existence was destined to become a series tragic episodes. He was an “R-rated” guy. Sex and violence dominated his life. He demanded the pleasure of unfaithful women and killed more than his fair share of ruthless men. Samson spent the last days of his life in a Philistine prison and died a violent and horrible death.

Imagine how much better life would have been for Samson if he had heard “No” more often as a child. Denying kids their every wish will not hurt their self-esteem. False affirmations, permissive parenting, and over-attentiveness are more likely to endanger a child’s self-esteem than catering to their every whim. Self-esteem isn’t free. It doesn’t come in a bottle.

If you want to help a child increase self-esteem, make it real. Give him age-appropriate opportunities to earn it. Earned success always leads to positive self-esteem. The stress, challenges, and disappointments on the road to success are a necessary part of that journey.

Don’t be afraid to say “No” to your child... or to yourself the next time you’re acting like one.

[1] No: Why Kids – of All Ages – Need to Hear It and Ways Parents Can Say It, David Walsh, PhD, Free Press – A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2007, pp.57-79.


Jessica said...

Great post! We have entered the stage here where "no" seems to be very common so the article really hits home.

Dave Scriven said...

Thanks for the feedback, Jessica.

Melinda said...

You addressed some very popular contemporary myths!

Great choice of a graphic, by the way (RX bottle).

Dave Scriven said...

Thanks Melinda.

JT said...

This is a great post. I like the picture. It is a great graphic. God bless you.