The other day I was teaching a Project Self-Esteem lesson on wisdom to a class of 5th graders. The object lesson included a jar labeled 24 hrs, golf balls, and rice. I selected a student and asked them to come to the front of the class. I showed the student the objects and told them that the jar represented 24 hrs in a day. The rice represented the fun things they would do, and the balls were the responsibilities or hard things. So I started with….. “You are home alone and can do anything you choose. What do you want to do?” She first said, wake up and make my bed. So I put a golf ball in the jar. Then she would read a book, another golf ball. Then she would watch t.v. and eat sugar cereal. I then poured rice in the jar on top of the golf balls. She then fed her cat, golf ball, rode her bike, golf ball. etc….. At the end the rice and golf balls fit. The goal of the object lesson was to have the rice and balls fit. If the student did more fun things then responsibilities, the items wouldn’t fit. ( the kids love these object lessons)
My point to all of this is that I found myself home alone this Saturday and I also had choices of fun and responsibilities to fill my day. (The lessons just aren’t for kids!!) My husband was at work and my children were at various places. So the thought came to me, What should I do with my time? My first instinct was to lay on the couch and watch netflicks while eating ice cream! haha. Seriously, that’s what I wanted to do. I had house cleaning to do and laundry waiting. I also had important projects to finish. I thought of the rice and balls. So I cleaned and worked on projects and got the hard stuff out of the way. Then I had no guilt when I watched my favorite program at the time which is “Flashpoint”! I really felt better about myself and enjoyed my time alone.
Project Self-Esteem for kids teaches children valuable life lessons that really stick!
Like trust, self-esteem can take months, even years to build and sometimes seconds to destroy. Its critical that parents pay close attention to their childs self-esteem. I have come up with 7 ways to accomplish this task.
1. Service- When we help others, our self-esteem is increased. When we are experiencing our own “pity party”, there’s no faster way to switch this energy than to help someone else. A smile, kind word, phone call, or warm cookies will do.
2. Gratitude- When we are grateful for what we have, then we are not focusing on what we are lacking. Our kids are used to instant gratification these days. A great idea is to have a blank poster board that the whole family can write 1000 things to be grateful for and leave it out for a week. This is a great reminder of ALL that we have.
3. Spending time- One of the greatest ideas that a child can grasp is the knowledge that the people who are closest to them actually care about who they are as a person. Talk to them about their interests.
4. Rules and Boundries- Kids need rules! If they are free to do whatever they want, there will be trouble. If you provide rules and boundries, they will know you care and want them to have self-discipline and to succeed.
5.Praise- We must tell our children we are proud of them. They need to know that we accept them no matter what. If they fail, tell them that you are so proud of how hard they tried.
6.Increase our self-esteem- If we walk around the house saying we are fat, or dumb, guess who is going to hear us? Yep, our kids mirror what we do.
7.Help them pick good friends-Their peers are so important. We don’t want our kids to be influenced wrongly by those they associate with. Spend time with their friends. Who knows, they might be influenced for good by you!
When we realize that our own worth is intrinsic, and that it will never change, no matter what we do, then there is then no need for comparing or judging others. If we value ourselves we have no need to look outside ourselves for validation.
Have you ever looked in the mirror and said out loud, ” I accept myself unconditionally right now”? Try it 3 times and day for a week. You might find it hard to do at first. But it will get easier and you will feel better about yourself.
Would we ever say horrible mean things to people we love everyday? Then why do we do it to ourselves? We say we hate our body, we get mad at ourselves for stupid actions or comments, etc…. How would you feel if you heard your child saying negative things about themselves many times a day?
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent!!
Prepare ahead of time a large piece of butcher paper cut out in the shape of one of the student’s silhouettes. Hang the cut out up on the chalkboard. Tell the students that the silhouette is named “Bob”. Have them come up one by one and write a mean put down about Bob somewhere on the silhouette in pencil. Then after they have completed writing their put down, have them tear off the portion of the silhouette where they wrote and take it back to their seat. When everyone has completed this task, there shouldn’t be much of Bob left.
Ask the students the following question. What did they do to Bob? Tell them that they literally tore him apart with their put downs. Now have them erase their negative comment and rewrite a positive one and bring their piece of Bob back to the front of the class. One by one, have the students tape him back together until the silhouette of Bob is whole again. Ask the students to tell you how Bob looks now that he is taped back together. Does he look the same as he did when we first started? They should all see that although he is back in one piece, he is not the same as he was when we began.
This represents how negative put downs can hurt a person deep inside. You can say you are sorry, but your harsh words will always leave a mark. Tell the students that before they put down another person or say something unkind, they should think to themselves, “How is what I am about to say going to affect this person”?
Heres a sample obect lesson from the lesson on gratitude! What a great way to teach kids to be grateful!
Pick a student to come to the front of the room. Have them take off one shoe and put a small pebble inside of their shoe. Have the student then put their shoe back on. Then give them a piece of candy to eat immediately. With the pebble in their shoe, and candy in their mouth, have them walk around the room. When they are finished, ask them which experience they noticed more. Would the candy have been more enjoyable to eat without the pebble as a distraction? Explain that when we are ungrateful and complain, it is like we have a pebble in our shoe. We don’t fully experience all our blessings, and we don’t notice them as easily.
Today was my last day teaching Project Self-esteem in Brooke’s 6th grade class. I must say…after all my years of volunteering in the classroom, these HAVE to be THE BEST taught lessons EVER! I am so thankful for Wendy Wood Cullum’s passion in creating curriculum that teaches valuable lessons in wisdom, Individuality, cooperation, self-discipline, honesty, gratitude, and forgiveness! I am not sure who learned more…the students or I, but what I do know is that it was an absolutely FANTASTIC year and I will greatly miss all these kids as they move on to Jr. High. Brooke, thank you for your ever smiling face in the classroom even when I embarrassed the heck out of you! LOL I am proud to be your Mom! — feeling accomplished with Brooke Sands at Butterfield Ranch Elementary School.
I had just moved to a new school in the middle of my 5th grade year. while in band practice there were two 6th graders that sat in the row behind me. They would always pull my hair or poke me with their Flutes. I was very dismayed that one of them was the daughter of one of my mothers best friends and the other was a member of my church. I still know the names of the two girls and every time I saw them in middle school and high school I tried to avoid them.