The most important thing you can ever teach your children is that they must truly Value Themselves. This will permeate everything they are and do and will last their lifetimes.
I watched Oprah last week, and she had a show about children being grabbed off the streets by sexual predators. We've watched the awful videotapes and seen the news stories about these children who never came home. But there were also a couple of stories about children who had fought back and had escaped their would-be captors. Their parents had taken the time to talk about Bad Things That Could Happen. One young girl was pulled from her bicycle and was being dragged to a van, when her parents' warnings came to her and she knew she wanted to Get Back Home. She fought back and was able to escape. I thought then, What can happen to those kids who aren't made to feel that they're worth fighting for?
In less dramatic but also powerful ways, our self-image, determined so long ago, flavors how we perform at every stage in our lives
Children who haven't been taught to value themselves don't push themselves to the front at school and so get passed over, while other more confident children capture the teachers' interest and get more attention and a better education.
Those children grow up to be people who don't hit the top in their careers because they secretly don't believe they deserve the success.
They don't lose the weight because they sabotage their own diets. They don't get healthy because they really don't think they have the right.
A few years ago, there was a construction site right outside the entrance to the building I worked in. There was a layer of fine silt over a granite sidewalk. Scurrying out for a lunch hour errand, I slipped and fell flat on my front on the sidewalk. Not one construction worker came to my aid, but several fellow office workers helped me up and inquired about my condition. It was a pretty spectacular fall. Of course, the first instinct is to pretend like you meant to start doing push-ups in the middle of lunch hour foot traffic, but I just thanked my benefactors, brushed myself off and kept moving. I really hurt myself, and paid for many sessions of accupuncture before I could move my left arm in an upward position. I still can't lay on that side for long in bed. I look back and think, Why in the world didn't I demand to see the Head Guy and fill out an accident report?
They should at least have paid for my treatments, if not put my kid through college or replaced Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang in the driveway. How many other people would have gone that route? The ones who felt their bodies were worth more?
The American people have undervalued themselves for the last several years - since, say November 2000 - by putting up with being a low priority of Bush and his Republican Party. Those who questioned this were labelled unpatriotic.
But it seems that now we are demanding more - and Bush is listening. His approval rating is so low he has to listen. Maybe at some point he'll actually figure out that we deserve to be listened to and what we say must be acted upon -- not just to pull up his ratings, but because it's our right and his duty.
We have to Value Ourselves in order to Be Valued.
Each One Of Us.