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Issue 434 - "Building Real Self-Esteem" (Anson Dorrance Part Three)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 10 Issue 434
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login




Anson Dorrance is the Woman's Soccer Coach at the University of North Carolina. In 42 years, his teams have won 22 National Championships. Coach Dorrance and Coach Wooden both believed that giving undeserved or excessive praise, even if the intentions are good, is counter productive to building real self-esteem in the team member and undermines the credibility of the coach.
In his fantastic 1996 book, Training Soccer Champions with Tim Nash, Coach Anson illustrates this idea with a hypothetical story including his wife M'Liss and their then four-year-old son Donavan:
"My wife and I come home from a long day at work and are very tired. Donovan, our four-and-a-half-year-old son, has just been eating in front of the television, and he decides to leave his dish there and go play in his bedroom. Well, the correct behavior is for M'Liss or me to go find Donovan and say, "Donovan, your dish is sitting there in the living room, and that's not where you leave it. When you are finished eating, you bring it to the kitchen and put it in the dishwasher."
Then there is a moment of confrontation with Donovan which is emotionally taxing — in a very small way. He will roll his eyes, object and say he'll do it later. Well, now you're getting a little angry because he's trying to blow you off, and it's not a very pleasant experience. It's not an issue about getting the dish in the dishwasher, but we are not in the mood for this type of dispute. And if we are the sort of parent, educator or coach who doesn't have the strength to constantly have these battles, we pick up the dish and put it in the dishwasher.
Rather than confront the issue of strict parenting and having high standards, we go the route of grabbing the dish, throwing it in the dishwasher and ignoring Donovan. And Donovan grows up being the self-indulgent, spoiled individual that has never had to do anything for himself because his parents have done things for him all his life".
Today's parents who attempt to "pave the way" for their children's success should consider one of Coach Wooden's favorite quotes from Abraham Lincoln: "The worst thing you can do for those you love is to do the things they could and should do for themselves."
Coach Anson concluded:
"Sometimes people have a misconstrued understanding of how to build self-esteem. The parent or teacher wants to create self-esteem, so they end up praising students or children for things that aren't praise-worthy. It's a hollow kind of praise. We end up developing self-indulgent kids and students that don't have any standards, and we develop parents and teachers that don't have real respect."
Who puts the dishes in your dishwasher?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




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Application Exercise



A Toast to Happiness

To happiness I raise my glass,
The goal of every human,
The hope of every clan and class
And every man and woman.
The daydreams of the urchin there,
The sweet theme of the maiden's prayer,
The strong man's one ambition,
The sacred prize of mothers sweet,
The tramp of soldiers on the street
Have all the selfsame mission.
Life here is nothing more or less
Than just a quest for happiness.

Some seek it on the mountain top,
And some within a mine;
The widow in her notion shop
Expects its sun to shine.
The tramp that seeks new roads to fare,
Is one with king and millionaire
In this that each is groping
On different roads, in different ways,
To come to glad, contented days,
And shares the common hoping.
The sound of martial fife and drum
Is born of happiness to come.

Yet happiness is always here
Had we the eyes to see it;
No breast but holds a fund of cheer
Had man the will to free it.
'Tis there upon the mountain top,
Or in the widow's notion shop,
'Tis found in homes of sorrow;
'Tis woven in the memories
Of happier, brighter days than these,
The gift, not of to-morrow
But of to-day, and in our tears
Some touch of happiness appears.

'Tis not a joy that's born of wealth:
The poor man may possess it.
'Tis not alone the prize of health:
No sickness can repress it.
'Tis not the end of mortal strife,
The sunset of the day of life,
Or but the old should find it;
It is the bond twixt God and man,
The touch divine in all we plan,
And has the soul behind it.
And so this toast to happiness,
The seed of which we all possess.

Edgar Allen Guest (1881-1959)






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