Letter from the Editor February 2011

Jenna Hammond

Grace, perhaps. Patience, definitely. But likely the most crucial attribute my mother instilled in me from a young age is self-esteem. Despite having unruly hair, taking weeks to place in the top reading group in elementary school and painting my bedroom walls in lieu of creating an actual masterpiece to hang, I believed I was beautiful, intelligent and creative. Through adversity and adolescent awkwardness, I did not waver. How could I? My mother was perpetually on the sidelines, singing praises and offering support. How could I ever let her down? I wouldn't, though she would be there to raise me up, I was confident, if ever there was a need.

You might think that a healthy dose of criticism leads to growth and humility. But in our single-parent family, mom's unadulterated and unconditional love nurtured my independence and too many other wonderful things to count, including my wonder woman of a sister and probably my courtship with my devoted husband. I recount this as I ask you parents to reflect on the love and encouragement that shaped you. Use the musing to inform your role as a parent as you inspire self-esteem in your own children.

To help with this, we've called on Dr. Judy Kuriansky. The legendary psychologist, therapist, lecturer and humanitarian took time out of her busy schedule to write "Confidence Building Tactics." The article highlights worrisome behavior in children that stems from a lack of self-esteem, and how to find the underlying issues and trigger situations to remedy children's malaise. Completing the puzzle, Dr. Kuriansky gives pointers for fostering a child's sense of self. She also illustrates teachable moments to enable your child's self-esteem to flourish.

Another inspiring read this month is all about you. In "Considering a New Career?" business and career journalist Martha E. Mangelsdorf shares manageable and motivating ways to explore occupational options. Referencing the common trend that many parents reevaluate their work life when they have a child, Mangelsdorf offers smart tactical moves to try out different career paths, including those that might not be lucrative. Discover how to achieve balance, fulfillment and achievement. And get ready for your confidence to soar as you choose your livelihood, whether you opt to change jobs, start a company or stay home with your kids. You can do anything. Didn't your mom tell you that? And you can always change your mind. Just remember to read the other insightful articles this month and pay extra attention to the excellent schools and resources spotlighted in our Education Directory. After all, it's important that encouraging administrators and empowering teachers are at the ready to keep your children's confidence soaring when your kids are learning to do great things like you.

To all the moms (and dads), thank you. To all the children, listen to the praises your parents sing. I hope everyone has a happy Valentine's Day. Enjoy the issue.

Jenna Hammond