I have recently enrolled, through my new school, in a professional development course called COETAIL. The Certificate of Educational Technology and Information Literacy is designed to meet the professional development needs of exemplary International School educators including teachers and administrators. If you’d like to know more about COETAIL, here is a link to the website.
One of the components of the course is a weekly response to a post or article we have read and I must confess that the idea of starting a new blog for this purpose… of having yet one more password-protected place in the cloud… well, that makes my head explode. To prevent the head-explosion, I am going to use this space for my weekly posts.
If using technology in your profession is of special interest to you, dig in. I promise to keep it real. If this does not appeal to you, please skip it. I’ll understand.
In World Without Walls: Learning Well With Others, Will Richardson writes about an eleven year old community volunteer and blogger who was asked where she gets her great ideas.
“I ask my readers.” was her response.
I get that. I like that. I do that too.
Lat year, in my work as a Counselor in Bangkok, I became increasingly concerned about the self-esteem of the teenagers with whom I work… the girls in particular. Over a few weeks, in different words, several girls asked me the following question: “How can I feel better about myself?”
Do you know how hard that question is to answer?
During an episode of a reality television show called Finding Sarah, personal finance guru Suze Orman reveals to the Duchess of York that she (Suze) “has a crush on herself”. Sarah asks her how it is possible to feel such positive feelings about oneself. Suze, never one lost for words, is not able to answer the question in a way that satisfies Sarah – or me.
So how do we help teenage girls develop authentic self-esteem? Immediately, I thought of my own tribe of very wise women and men – with whom I am connected through Facebook. They range in age from 18 to 80 and they live, quite literally, all over the world.
I posted an update asking them for their advice and my tribe of wise ones rose to the occasion and helped me identify some of the obstacles to genuinely feeling good about oneself. This collaboration resulted in A Confidence Manifesto for Girls and a new TUMBLR blog called The Girls’ Guide to Happiness. (TUMBLR is a popular online space for girls; some of them call it their “thinspiration.”)
While neither the manifesto nor the blog offers easy solutions to the this emotional epidemic (I can assure you that easy-peasy-self-worth-fixes do not exist), TUMBLR has allowed me to share a message of care. Girls in my life and in blog-landia know that Counselors and teachers and parents all over the world understand that these are hard years; we care, we would like to listen and help, and we’d like to empower girls to develop crushes on themselves. True love and acceptance of self… the real deal.
So what would you say to a teenager who asked you how they can feel better about themselves. Please comment below… I am very interested!