Parents and teachers should do no harm

Monday July 2, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/7/2/focus/11565561&sec=focus

IN the travel feature “The Van Gogh Trail” (The Star, June 23), the writer Z.R. Yang ended the story with: Visiting Van Gogh has reaffirmed to me the importance of a healthy soul. It doesn’t matter how beautiful the external circumstances may be … our hearts need healthy relationships and self-esteem.

I totally agree. Recently I read a book by Dr Terry Lynch, titled Beyond Prozac: Healing Mental Suffering Without Drugs, and it struck me how often a lack of self-esteem and self-belief seems to be a major factor in depression, bipolar disease, schizophrenia, anorexia and suicide. As Dr Lynch says: “People with high self-esteem tend not to take their own lives.”

As parents we all want what is best for our children, but our priority must be to give them a sense of self-esteem, self-respect and the feeling that they are loved and accepted for who they are, no matter what.

Sometimes it’s very easy to forget our priorities. If the teenager crashes the car, it is more important to step back, take a deep breath and remember that the person uninjured is more important than the car damaged, and he/she needs to be told that.

We live in the age of TVs, smart phones and computers, and it seems there is less time for sitting down to chat. But if we don’t tell and show our kids that we love and value them, they may think that we don’t.

Teachers also play a big role in helping our children develop high self-esteem. My son had the misfortune of having a teacher in Form Three, who uttered “Bodoh!” every time he saw my boy, despite his good performance in school. That started a very rebellious stage in my son’s life.

Fortunately, my son came around and is now doing very well. Perhaps parents and teachers should take an oath to do no harm, like doctors.

CONCERNED MOM

Kuching