Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Idol Chatter 

OK, I'm wasting my evening watching American Idol, I admit it. When I was growing up, if I tried something (like singing) and I was bad, my brothers and sisters took the opportunity to be completely honest with me -- ruthlessly honest. These poor souls trying out for American Idol apparently don't have brothers and sisters. Is this what the low birth rate will yield for the world, people who have never been told they sing horribly? People with a huge self-esteem and nothing, nothing upon which to base it? When my own teen children viewed themselves, as so many teen children do, as future rock stars, I popped their bubbles by demanding that they try out for band or choir at school or at church. I asked them how they could measure how good they are if they didn't get feedback from their friends and teachers and directors. Of course when my kids would come home talking about self-esteem I would tell them, "you get self-esteem from achieving something, from success in sports or band or choir or grades or from getting and keeping a job, from saving up your own money to buy your own car. You get self-esteem by overcoming difficulties, from doing excellent work, it isn't something someone else can pour into you."

Some of these poor souls trying out for American Idol, some who say they can't envision living without expressing themselves in song, must have just never been told the truth in their lives. I wonder if perhaps the best gifts I've been given were the rejections: not making the team that first year of little league, being cut off the basketball team in 8th grade, being barely good enough for third trumpet in the band. These days, especially in little league, all kids make the team and all kids have to play -- rules. What's wrong with an eight or nine year old learning to deal with failure? Look at the results when people are grown and still don't have an honest self-perception.

I'll get off my soapbox now.

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