I sat with Bennett watching Seseme Street this morning when suddenly some orange ball with lips started singing a song about how she was “happy to be me”….
What? I screamed inside a little. Seriously, what kind of messages are some of these kids shows sending through our kids heads? Sure, this message may not seem destructive. In fact, some may actually think it’s really great and promotes good self-esteem. I just wonder, what is this message really growing in us and our little ones?
Do you remember the first time you heard the “self-esteem” message? I do. I was in 4th grade at Griffith Elementary School. Our class walked in a straightish line past the library to a small closet-like room where we met the guidance counselor. Scary. Seriously, the room just gave me the hibbity jibbies, just like that singing orange ball did. Anyhow, we listened to our guidance counselor teach us what self-esteem was, good and bad, then talked about how we needed to “accept ourselves as we were” and “not give in to peer pressure.” Remember that talk?
Now it starts as toddlers or earlier, instilling “good self-esteem mindsets” before they can even speak full sentences. Is there really a self-hatred epidemic that our world needs to fight? Do we need dancing oranges and purple dinosaurs to teach us how to love ourselves? Perhaps. I cannot deny my own self-hate. Can’t deny that the media and peer pressure can sway the impressionable to do unhealthy, ungodly things.
I guess my problem with this emphasis on “I’m happy to be me-focus” is that I wonder if we have taught indulgence and complacency alongside “good self-esteem”. Have you noticed the media’s focus on pleasing you? It’s “have it your way” and “you’re worth it” and “the right one for you.” Merchants want to make you feel good, make you feel that you are important, so you’ll buy their product no matter how indulgent it is. It just seems like we’ve missed the issue altogether.
Why are we teaching people to learn to accept themselves “as they are”? My guesses would be 1) people have lost the care to hold their tongues and there is an abundance of verbal abuse, 2) therefore, people cannot handle any kind of criticism, 3) people have stopped believing in, relying on, and trusting God, 4) so they have to look to someone else for strength, but others prove to fall short, 5) SO our society doesn’t want to be judged by things controllable nor uncontrollable. Whew, chew on that. I wrote it, and I’m dizzy.
It just seems like since it’s not wise or healthy to get in the habit of people-pleasing, we are being taught to please ourselves first, er accept ourselves. Maybe I’m completely off. I don’t know. I’m not saying every kid’s show that has a dancing orange is out to make selfish underachievers, nor do I think it’s wrong to treat ourselves every once in a while. I just fear that the lack of disciplinary education and Christ-centered discipleship is breeding the problems we see today. I wonder if the next generations will understand and experience self-control and the desire to be holy. Certainly I see the lack in myself…the world seems to be screaming out to me “it’s ok, andi. no one’s perfect. just be. just be who you are. go after your dreams. do what’s right for you. do what makes you happy. if you have peace with yourself, you’re ok.”
Yet, God tells me, “Be holy as I am holy. If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. Follow Me.”
I don’t see the message in the Scriptures to “accept myself, believe in myself, live for myself”; I see “accept Him, believe in Him, live for Him”. Any thoughts????