I mentioned that John Smith was as controversial as ever. The talk he did was fine; it was one of the asides that I would query. (Although it was just that - an aside - and maybe he meant something entirely different from how I interpreted it.)
He's writing, or has finished writing, a book called The Myth of Self-esteem. He said he's been working on it for years and wants to get it out soon as he fears there could soon be a band-wagon following the publication of some research.
This research showed that children upon whom praise was heaped didn't try as hard, or push themselves as much, as children who were less generously praised but encouraged to do better.
Now I think about it more that seems perfectly reasonable. A lot of us, by nature, are fairly lazy; if you can get by without much effort, why bother to do more than is necessary? But a little encouragemnet also works wonders.
I don't know what John Smith means by the myth of self-esteem but I'm sure he can't mean that good self-esteem is bad. He has spent his life working with bikers and outcasts of society; that in itself shows the value he places on them.
Jesus' ministry was all about showing people they mattered. Zaccheus, after whom Zac's place is named, climbed up a tree to watch Jesus pass by. Jesus spotted him and invited himself to tea with Zac. Jesus also invited himself to tea with Matthew, the despised and crooked tax-collector. I bet they felt good about themselves afterwards.
Jesus sums up the commandments saying, 'Love God and love others as you love yourself.' If we don't love ourselves, the world is going to be pretty screwed.
Okay, I should probably wait for John Smith's book to come out before I start disagreeing with him. I just wanted to get this out of my system. I can go and do some cleaning now.