Self esteem is not arrogance. By its very definition, self esteem makes one confident of oneself and as a result the person develops genuine humility. Again, humility is not timidity. Timidity is a direct symptom of low self esteem. A student without required self esteem can suffer unknown health issues, both physical and mental. Lack of self esteem can also lead to depression. Students lacking self esteem are vulnerable to getting bullied by their peers. This makes teaching students and children how to develop true self esteem that is different from arrogance an essential part of teachers’ and parents’ responsibility. I need to add here that by the word qualification I never mean only university degrees although they do help.
Not only are teachers responsible for what they teach, they have a moral responsibility to ensure the students develop enough self esteem and grow into responsible citizens. Now, self esteem is not something every one can buy nor are all born with it, but there are all possibilities that by hearing from and associating with right people, one can break the mental barriers that he or she may be otherwise stuck with.
I read some interesting points and a keep-in-mind list for teachers who want to help their students build self esteem. Let me share them with you first. Later on we will take a look at what Bhagavad Gita has to say on the same subject matter.
17 Great Resources for Building a Student’s Self Image | Edudemic
What do your students see when they look in the mirror? Do they see someone worthwhile or someone who will never be good enough? While it isn’t your responsibility to dig into the nuances of every student’s self-perception, you can still help the members of your class to have healthy views of themselves. Such a view can bolster their academic performance and serve as a bulwark against bullying. The following resources provide information about self-image that you can use in the classroom.
Background Information to Bolster Your Lessons
What does having a proper self-image involve? What factors go into how a person perceives him or herself? The resources in this section provide insight into how self-image works and offer specific techniques for building it up.
Perhaps you’ve heard it said that sports are an effective channel for boosting kids’ self-confidence. That is true, but only in certain cases. This article from Psychology Today explains under what circumstances sports have a positive effect. In a nutshell, “the potency of sports lies in their social setting.”
A writer for ChicagoNow points out that “a bully won’t bully a wall; [a bully] finds a target.” This article goes on to provide self-esteem pointers that can help students go from being a “target” to being a “wall.” Tips include things like practicing coping skills and slowing down to think before responding to a bully.
What is the psychology behind building a positive view of self? Drawing from counseling principles, the Mayo Clinic presents steps for challenging and changing negative thoughts, a process that can lead to higher self-esteem. Although the information aims to help adults, the principles therein are useful to individuals of every age.
Why do children form negative self-images? The answer has to do with a range of factors, most of which have their roots in the home. This piece from LiveStrong lists five situations that can bring kids down. As an educator, you may have little power to change some of these things, but being aware of them provides valuable insight into the way your students think.
You want to ensure that your students are safe online: safe from predators, safe from scams, safe from bullying, and safe from social media depression. This article from PsychCentral explains how social media can impact the way people view themselves and offers some tips that you can pass on to your students for keeping their social media life in the right place.
While there are differences between how the Vedic knowledge is imparted to students and how the modern schools and universities run, self esteem of students remains a common and important aspect that design and define students’s future. Bhagavad Gita (4.34) says this:
tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya
upadeksyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattva-darsinah
TRANSLATION: Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.
Note the word “submissively”. Here is the main difference between today’s education system and Vedic education. Vedas emphasize that real knowledge, meaning transcendental knowledge, cannot be acquired by a person who is not submissive to his spiritual master. The same principle applies to mundane knowledge. Traditionally, in India and around the world, students were trained to be obedient to teachers. Similarly, children were taught to be respectful towards parents. In contrast, in modern days students are encouraged to be independent minded, that is, whimsical, and quite often, such independence is promoted as self esteem although in reality it is arrogance.
“One has to approach a bona fide spiritual master to receive the knowledge. Such a spiritual master should be accepted in full surrender, and one should serve the spiritual master like a menial servant, without false prestige. Satisfaction of the self-realized spiritual master is the secret of advancement in spiritual life. Inquiries and submission constitute the proper combination for spiritual understanding. Unless there is submission and service, inquiries from the learned spiritual master will not be effective. One must be able to pass the test of the spiritual master, and when he sees the genuine desire of the disciple, he automatically blesses the disciple with genuine spiritual understanding. In this verse, both blind following and absurd inquiries are condemned. Not only should one hear submissively from the spiritual master, but one must also get a clear understanding from him, in submission and service and inquiries. A bona fide spiritual master is by nature very kind toward the disciple. Therefore when the student is submissive and is always ready to render service, the reciprocation of knowledge and inquiries becomes perfect.” (Srila Prabhupada purport)
When the spiritual master is pleased, scriptures declare, the Supreme Lord is also pleased. And because the Lord is the reservoir of all good qualities, anyone who is favored by Him automatically develops not only self esteem but all other godly qualities. Besides, when we realize that the Supreme Lord, who is full of all strength, all beauty, all wealth, all knowledge, all fame and even all renunciation, is our best friend and well wisher we no more need to go around searching for self esteem as it automatically becomes an intrinsic part our nature.