SkeptiCamp Winnipeg 2012: The Good Ship Self-Esteem

On Saturday, 29 September 2012, the Winnipeg Skeptics held their third annual SkeptiCamp event. SkeptiCamp Winnipeg is a conference for the sharing of ideas. It is free and open to the public: anyone can attend and participate! Presentations and discussions focus on science and free inquiry, and the audience is encouraged to challenge presenters to defend their ideas.

Donna Harris is the vice president of the Humanists, Atheists, and Agnostics of Manitoba. She discovered skepticism in Las Vegas several years ago, and it has changed her live for the better.

SkeptiCamp is an open conference celebrating science and critical thinking. For more information please visit


3 thoughts on “SkeptiCamp Winnipeg 2012: The Good Ship Self-Esteem

  1. First this:

    Then this:

    I agree that there is a trend somewhat like you’ve suggested. There has been a societal knee-jerk reaction to the discovery of the notion that we need to foster self-esteem in our children. I also agree that that reaction has been largely misguided and even damaging.

    What I find disturbing is not what you’ve come right out and stated, but which is heavily suggested in how you’ve presented your arguement. I have paid a lot of attention to this topic over the last several years such that your tone, loosely formed points, and implied suggestions are extremely familiar to me.

    What I’m driving at is that your message SEEMS to me to be laced with a familiar pining for “the good old days of yore” when we knew better than people these days. “We didn’t coddle children like they do these days.”

    I’m going to list a few facts that are simultaneously true and not mutually exclusive:
    My parents did the best they knew how.
    My parents provided for me and gave me good opportunities.
    They had barely a clue how to foster a healthy minded child.
    The could have done way better if they had better knowledge.
    I am an abuse survivor.
    I’ve had to work like hell to correct their mistakes.

    I don’t sit around blaming my problems on them and doing nothing with my life. I have to state this because without exception, every person I’ve ever dealt with who sports this “good old days” mindset immediately jumps to that conclusion. It is itself abusive, dismissive, anti-intellectual and downright regressive in a myriad of practical, meaningful ways and not just “sentimental”. Moreover, this good old days attitude has far, far stronger ties to religious ways of thinking than this new “reward everything” mindset.

    The pendulum has swung from one bad extreme to another bad extreme. Let us please foster an intelligent dialog where we don’t have to throw self-esteem out with the bathwater and actually try to figure out what it means and how it is actually fostered instead of this new versus old, polarized stand off.

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