Tag Archives: Self Esteem

Farewell Address to 2017 Graduating Class: Know Your Worth #cisva

Today I want to talk to you about something most of you don’t know or at least forget too often: your worth.  You are far more valuable than you give yourself credit for.

How do you know how much something is worth?  Is it the asking price?  Is it a random guess?  No.  When it comes down to it, something is worth what will be paid for it.  A bottle of water? $1  A fidget spinner? About $10.  The Ferrari Marcello will own by the time he is 21? $200000.

Well, if the worth of something is determined by what some one is willing to pay for it, what are you worth?  $1, $10, $200000?  What would someone pay for you?  We could ask your parents.  I’m certain everyone of them would say they would do anything for you.  They would give their lives to save yours.  How does that make you feel to hear that?

What if I told you that you are worth even more than that?  Look upon the cross behind me.  God, the creator of the mountains, oceans, planets and the entire universe, loves you; enough that he himself came down to earth to die the most agonizing death upon the cross to save your life.  You are worth that much.  The life of Jesus Christ was paid for you.  Do you remember when you were little and you would say to your parents, “I love you this much” with your arms stretched out?  When you look upon the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross remember that he was thinking of you.  He was and continues to say “I love you this much.”

Let’s bring that back into the context of your everyday lives.  If you are worth this much, why do we so often struggle with self-esteem and confidence?  We forget our worth.  We look at celebrities and think they are worth more than us because they are more beautiful, more talented, smarter, more loved.  We look at our classmates and think they are more popular, more cool, more athletic.  Every time I see one of you in tears I think to myself “If only you knew your worth.  If only you knew how much you are truly loved.”

You are so loved.  God loves you.  Your parents love you.  I and the staff of CCS loves you.  Your friends… they are nice but don’t rely on them for determining your worth; they are often as confused and messed up as you are.  How do we continue to remember how much we are worth?  By spending time with those who love us.  Go to Mass, pray, and read Scripture to remind yourself of God’s love.  Have dinner with your family, help around the house, and snuggle on the couch while watching a movie to be reminded of your family love.  Finally, when High School has got you down, come back to CCS.  You will always be welcomed and loved here.

May God bless you all as you make the next step in your journey.

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Using Imagination to Unlock Potential

imagination

You don’t get what you want, you get what you expect. This axiom was at the heart of a program I took through the Pacific Institute 10 years ago called “Imagine 21: The Fast Track to Change.” In this program we were taught how to unlock the power of our imaginations to change how we see the world and ourselves. We learned how to seriously envision ourselves succeeding in this or that area of life. Once we had that picture in mind, we worked on using affirmative statements to reprogram our subconscious to help us achieve our vision.

Now that I write that out it sounds like some kind of cult brainwashing activity doesn’t it? Trust me, it’s not. Our imaginations are truly powerful and the evidence is all around us. Successful people, whether they do it consciously or unconsciously, use the power of their imaginations to achieve their success.

Think of some successful people you know. How do they talk about themselves? Rarely will you hear a successful person talk about how terrible they are or how they expect to fail. Successful people say things like “I can do that!” and “I can’t wait to make that happen!” (Apparently they also always use exclamation points on every statement). By repeatedly affirming themselves both inwardly and outwardly, these people program their subconscious to find ways to make that dream a reality. They keep working, trying new ways to get things done, and never give up until they reach their goal.

On the other hand, think of some of the less successful people you know. How do they talk about themselves? Usually they have low self-esteem and low expectations. They say things like “I wish I could do that” or “That’s too hard” or “That’s too expensive.” Like the successful person, they are using their imaginations too, but in a negative way to affirm their lack of success. Their subconscious, thus programmed to fail, will find ways to make sure success never comes. They will give up, make excuses, and ignore opportunities until they fail.

In the case of both the successful and unsuccessful person they will get exactly what they expect.

Nowhere is this mentality of using the power of your imagination to unlock your potential more important than in education. Students need to envision themselves being successful. They need to have positive self-talk, both inwardly and outwardly. As with adults, imagining and affirming success will set students on a positive course in life.

Think of the teachers your children have had over the years. Which ones made the biggest difference? I am willing to bet my career that the teachers who made the bigger difference in your child’s life were the ones who affirmed them and made them see how great they can be. Knowledge of content and good pedagogy are important, but are not necessarily life changing.  I was blessed to have several life-changing teachers in my life. I am blessed to work with many such teachers at CCS.

As a parent I need to remember this too. Cutting remarks and low expectations are a recipe for disaster with my own children. I need to constantly lift them up, reminding them of their awesome potential. When they fail it is merely a stepping stone to a greater success. That doesn’t excuse laziness or let them off the hook for dumb mistakes, but it puts these behaviours in a different light. Ultimately I need them to understand the dignity and awesome plan God has in store for them.

Thanks for reading!

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Determing Self Worth

A few recent events at school have had me considering the question “How do do students measure their self worth?”

The first example is elementary school basketball.  Our Grade Seven class is one of the most competitive we have ever had.  Both teams are in the semi-finals and some students seem anxious about their games.  Sometimes in sports we determine our worth based on points scored and games won.

A second example is the release of the Fraser Institute’s School Rankings.  Our school moved up the charts significantly this year and appears to be doing well.  Based on what?  Sometimes we measure our worth based upon comparing ourselves to others.

A third example stems from the recent “anti-bullying” day.  Every year this day raises awareness and sensitivity to the issue of bullying.  Every year a student or two comes forward with complaints of being teased or being made to feel bad.  I am glad they do so and we can work together on a solution.  What makes bullying so harmful is that the victim begins to measure their worth based on the opinions of others.

The message I try to send to the kids is that we do not determine our worth based on wins and losses, comparing ourselves to others, or the opinions of others.  If we do so we will only find emptiness and failure.  Eventually the best athlete loses, the top school falters on an exam, and the fickle friend cuts us down with words.  Building our sense of worth on these things is like building a house on sand.  The foundation is weak and will eventually crumble.

So how do we determine our worth?  We must build our sense of self-esteem and worth on God, our rock.  Each child is a unique and irreplaceable child of God.  These are not just words!  This is a fundamental truth of faith and of our very existence.  God does not base his love for us on what we do or what we look like.  He loves us unconditionally and this must be the core of our understanding of ourselves and how we relate to others.  The closer we are to this understanding the closer we will be to happiness.  The further away we are from this understanding, the more unhappy we will be.

Isaiah 26 v 4

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