Can you recall a positive memory of a teacher? Many of us enjoyed the support that a special teacher provided us. They may have have been responsible for changing the course of our lives.
Teachers can influence us in both good and bad ways but we tend to blame them for more than we should. It’s easy to hold them responsible for our poor self-image but the truth is our self-image is set by the time we’re five years old.
What is self- image?
Self-image is the personal view, or mental picture, that we have of our selves. It’s our “internal dictionary” that describes the characteristics that we believe we have. It’s a framework we establish when we’re young and live our lives according to these beliefs about ourselves. It’s what we believe to be true about us.
So if we settle on who we believe we are by the age of five then its really our parents, family members, daycare providers and other authoritarian figures that spent time with us as children that contributed to our self-image. You may have heard the expression that children are sponges and as it turns out they are. They take in what others say and absorb it as truth. They don’t have a filter to screen what is true and what isn’t. They can’t decipher between reality and opinion so as adults it’s our responsibility to control what we say. I know this isn’t easy but it’s necessary for the health and future wellness of our youth.
If it’s not teachers that create the framework of our lives or self-image then you must be wondering why I call them “game-changers.” The reason I say this is because teachers have the opportunity to explain to their students what their self-image is and how it directs their lives. I know these conversations don’t typically happen in our schools but wouldn’t it be great if they did? We are what we believe ourselves to be unless we actively challenge our concepts of self and make changes in our beliefs for the better. This is not my opinion but it has been proven to be true and it’s human nature.
I realize teachers don’t want or need the responsibility of correcting parental mistakes. I am suggesting they have the platform and opportunity to change their students’ lives for the better simply by encouraging their students to self assess their beliefs, to challenge them and correct them if required.
Remember… Image is Everything.