Only when we dare to dream -- to build a vision -- can we improve our world.

Today, many Californians have a new vision to build a society in which self-esteem is nurtured and people naturally assume personal and social responsibility.

We invite you to join us as we envision the following possibilities. Stretch your imagination into the future, beyond presently accepted limits. Some of these possibilities will become a reality by the year 2000.

In the Twenty-First century, families of all types are recognized and operating as the primary source for modeling self-esteem and personal and social responsibility.

Children are welcomed into the world by parents who esteem themselves and who appreciate and support their children's natural tendencies toward becoming constructive, responsible, and trustworthy.

Children are nurtured by their parents in such a way that they all become healthy individuals who have a sense of identity and an awareness of their own worth and potential.

Through widespread parental education, parents develop a deeply felt sense of their own worth, a knowledge of the nature and developmental stages of their children, and an appreciation of positive, healthy, and effective ways to be parents.

Families provide every member with healthy, stimulating, informative, and growth-producing experiences.

In the Twenty-First century, self-esteem and personal and social responsibility are integral parts of the lifelong learning process.

Schools welcome and support children, regardless of sex, race, nationality, creed, or socioeconomic status. Students are seen as precious and deserving of recognition and attention.

Schools provide rich educational experiences that are designed to:

Awaken the learner in each student. Develop each child's learning capacity and appreciation for learning as a lifelong experience. Provide an education that appreciates the uniqueness of each child. Address the special needs of every student. Serve to liberate rather than domesticate. Promote responsible character and values.

Provide children with role models, experiences, and skills necessary to develop their creativity, intuition, and imagination.

Schools are operated by administrators and teachers who have experienced self-esteem education, who esteem themselves, and who are valued by their communities and by the system they work for. They are sensitive to and comfortable with students of all races and learning styles, they know how to teach students to esteem themselves, and they are positive role models.

School curricula reflect the richness of California's cultural diversity.

Schools provide children with peer counseling and cooperative learning experiences.

Every student is prepared to become fully competent in the six R's: Reading, 'Riting, and 'Rithmetic -- and Responsibility, self-respect, and Relationships.

Businesses and governments work together to provide opportunities for people to develop marketable skills.

People in the Twenty-First century recognize self-esteem and personal and social responsibility as bridges of acceptance for all ethnic groups and cultural, spiritual, and service organizations.

California is the world's foremost multicultural democracy.

Our communities have become living laboratories in healthy human relations and development, miniature multicultural democracies. Our entire state has become a learning-oriented community.

Californians are respectful of all persons, regardless of sex, race, color, creed, age or sexual orientation.

Healthy communities and healthy individuals stimulate and reinforce each other.

Community citizens provide themselves a healthy and safe environment. Crime, violence, homelessness, and drug addiction are vanishing in the face of the social vaccine of self-esteem.

Californians have developed healthy, effective, and nonviolent ways of resolving conflicts and disputes.

As key and influential components of communities, the media practice their commitment to feature and model responsible behavior and to help build self-esteem among all the members of their communities.

In the Twenty-First century, self-esteem and personal and social responsibility are integral parts of our corporate culture.

Businesses operate with the joint goals of productivity and social responsibility. They seek healthy balances among human, economic, and environmental issues.

California industry values the environment and actively seeks nonpolluting alternatives.

The workplace environment and training programs nurture self-esteem. This has resulted in higher productivity and markedly reduced absenteeism.

The California economy is competitive, leading the Pacific Rim developments.

Businesses are owned and managed by persons who esteem themselves and who seek to develop in their employees self-esteem, leadership, and creativity.

All persons are treated equally and respectfully in the workplace, regardless of sex, race, color, creed, age, or sexual orientation. Californians are actively developing their self-esteem and increasing their productivity.

In the Twenty-First century every government level in the state and each of its programs are designed to empower people to become self-realizing and self-reliant. Each promotes self-esteem and personal and social responsibility.

Every citizen (and noncitizen as well) recognizes his or her personal responsibility for fully engaging in the political process, and he or she recognizes the possibility for positively affecting every other person in every situation and relationship.

We are governed by responsible elected and appointed persons, who esteem themselves and have the integrity and competence to lead our people well. Our leaders approach decisions and problems in a universally and systematically inclusive and collaborative manner.

Every level of government participates in a full-scale public sector-private sector partnership and has earned the confidence of our people.

We, the members of the California Task Force to Promote Self-Esteem and Personal and Social Responsibility, believe California has the potential for this kind of future. This is the challenge we now place before all Californians. This is the hope and promise of this report and of all Californians actively promoting self-esteem and personal and social responsibility.

From the Executive Summary
A precise understanding of what we mean when we speak of self-esteem is crucial to this entire endeavor. The literature review conducted by the University of California on behalf of the Task Force was hindered by the lack of a generally accepted definition. Furthermore, the common public perception of self esteem as a condition of highly individualistic narcissism has resulted in confusion and misunderstanding.

The Task Force adopted this as its official definition:

Appreciating my own worth and importance and having the character to be accountable for myself and to act responsibly toward others.

"Appreciating our Worth and Importance" involves accepting ourselves, setting realistic expectations, forgiving ourselves and others, taking risks, trusting, and expressing feelings. It also rests on appreciating our creativity, our minds, our bodies, and our spiritual beings.

"Appreciating the Worth and Importance of Others" means affirming each person's unique worth, giving personal attention, and demonstrating respect, acceptance, and support. This principle also means setting realistic expectations, providing a sensible structure, forgiving others, taking risks, appreciating the benefits of a multicultural society, accepting emotional expressions, and negotiating rather than being abusive.

"Affirming Accountability for Ourselves" requires taking responsibility for our decisions and actions, being a person of integrity, understanding and affirming our values, attending to our physical health, and taking responsibility for our actions as parents.

"Affirming our Responsibility Toward Others" means respecting the dignity of being human, encouraging independence, creating a sense of belonging, developing basic skills, providing physical support and safety, fostering a democratic environment, recognizing the balance between freedom and responsibility, balancing cooperation and competition, and serving humanity.

Self-Esteem is the likeliest candidate for a social vaccine, something that empowers us to live responsibly and that inoculates us against the lures of crime, violence, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, child abuse, chronic welfare dependency, and educational failure. The lack of self-esteem is central to most personal and social ills plaguing our state and nation as we approach the end of the Twentieth Century.

From The Final Report of The California Task Force to Promote Self-Esteem and Personal and Social Responsibility

Copies of Toward a State of Esteem are available for $4 each, plus sales tax for California residents, from the Bureau of Publications, California State Department of Education, P.O. Box 271, Sacramento, CA 95802-0271.

For information, write or call 916-445-1260.

The Appendixes to Toward a State of Esteem is also available in a separate volume for $4 each, plus sales tax for California residents. As a supplement to the report, the Appendixes include what we think to be the largest bibliography of self-esteem resource materials to be found in the world, a listing of self-esteem program resources, an outline of the work being done by the various county task forces, and copies of the legislation relevant to this enterprise.

Copyright © 1996. The Light Party.

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