Meet Thandi. Thandi is a smart, bubbly and kind girl. Little Thandi came back from school one day and was so excited that she had been chosen as the new grade 3R class monitor. Miss Zulu told her peers that “Thandi is a good example, children! You must strive to be like her!”
It was true! Little Thandi was truly a good example of a well-groomed student. The next day, little Thandi was attending her physical education class and they were busy having fun when a boy from her class yelled “Thandi! How can you be a good example, when you can’t even pass the ball right!” and everyone burst out into bubbles of laughter. Thandi felt so bad and that the following day little Thandi was late for school and Miss Zulu said to Little Thandi: “Thandi! As the class monitor, you should always be on time. You are supposed to be setting a good example!”
Later that evening before little Thandi went to bed; she thought to herself “But what does it mean to be a good example”. She found the responsibility of being “a good example” a little challenging. As Little Thandi fell asleep, It was in her sleep that Thandi has a strange dream. In this dream; every time she said or felt bad things about herself for not being good at something, a BIG scary horn grew right in the middle of her forehead. She then started to scream for help and ran straight to Miss Zulu’s office. Surprisingly, Miss Zulu chuckled at the sight of this and whispered to her the word “Kindness”. Little Thandi’s dream was disturbed by the loud alarm. That morning, as she arrived at school, Little Thandi looked forward to school and fulfilling her role as a class monitor. She understood that leading by example does not mean being perfect; instead, it means being kind enough to yourself to understand that our imperfections make us human and accepting them makes us even better leaders.
Now you’re probably reading this and wondering – how is this relevant for children?
“Believe it or not, it’s possible to teach your children to fight the negativity of the world using nothing but self-love.“
Based on Little Thandi’s story, Self-love has less to do with how you look and what you are wearing and more to do with how you regard yourself. It is important to teach children that they are not awesome, cool, beautiful, pretty, etc. because of hairstyles or outfits and other external things that could be taken away in an instance BUT that they are amazing because of who they are at the core of their being, and I want them to know that and appreciate that.
“Good self-esteem is essential to a child’s development. It is the foundation of everything they do, everything they are – it is the foundation of their future. “
So here are some tips to instill children with self-love tools:
- Teach them about joy: Happiness can be taken away… it’s external. But joy, that’s something that they should have on the inside. And when they leave the house and encounter all of those things in the world that are designed to tear them apart, they’ll still have their given joy.
- Love your body for all that it can do! Your body is amazing. It has so many great skills and talents it does every day. It helps you to laugh, breathe, think and play.
- Look after yourself. Looking after your body is important. We only get one! Eating healthy and exercising will help you to feel good and keep your body strong.
- Focus on the good things. Write a list of all the things that you and others like about yourself. Read this list often. Add to it when you find more things you like about yourself!
- Change the way you think about yourself. Catch those thoughts that are telling you negative things about yourself. Replace them with some positive ones. Everybody has things they can like about themselves.
Having high self-esteem isn’t about telling everyone how wonderful you are. It’s more about trying your best, realizing that you won’t always succeed but always being willing to have a go. You can feel good that you are a positive person and others will respect and want to be around you.
It’s okay to look and be different. It’s what makes us special!
[RECOMMENDED READING]: We have compiled a list of 10 books that teach kids the importance of Self-Love:
- “Chrysanthemum” by Kevin Henkes
- “Mpumi’s Magic Beads” by Lebohang Masango & Masego Morulane
- “The Sneetches and Other Stories” by Dr. Seuss
- “You Are Special” by Max Lucado
- “Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun” by Maria Dismondy
- “I Like Myself” by Karen Beaumont
- “Unstoppable Me” by Wayne W. Dyer
- “Smile” by Raina Telgemeier
- “Deenie” by Judy Blume
- “The Skin I’m In” by Sharon Flake
- “The List” by Siobhan Vivian
About the Author:
Nosipho Nxumalo is a University of Witwatersrand LLB Student. She is currently a Junior Business Management Consultant and she is a proud feminist and advocates for women empowerment.
Follow her on Instagram: @noss_nx & Facebook: Nxumalo Nosipho Nxumalo