Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Father was probably not a charter member of the "self esteem movement"......................

A pupil from whom nothing is ever demanded which he cannot do, never does all he can.
     One of the evils most liable to attend on any sort of early proficiency, and which often fatally blights it promise, my father anxiously guarded against.   This was self-conceit.  He kept me with extreme vigilance, out of the way of hearing myself praised, or being let to make self-flattering comparisons between myself and others.  From his own intercourse with me I could derive none but a very humble opinion of myself, and the standard of comparison he always held up to me, was not what other people did, but what a man could and ought to do.  He completely succeeded in preserving me from the sort of influences he so much dreaded.  I was not at all aware that my attainments were anything unusual at my age.  If I accidentally had my attention drawn to the fact that some other boy knew less than myself - which happened less often that might be imagined - I concluded, not that I knew much, but that he, for some reason or another, knew little, or that his knowledge was of a different kind from mine.
-John Stuart Mill,   as excerpted from The Autobiography of John Stuart Mill

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