In my last post I wrote about the fact that overall, Brazil appears to have a self-esteem issue. This often seems to express itself in the media, with far more attention given to say musicians and bands from the US and UK than is given to Brazilian artists. Some famous Brazilians, such as the model Gisele only become famous in Brazil after becoming famous elsewhere, in other countries. Then they are valued.
Also in my last article, I showed a really sad example of a video using the words of Professor Ronaldo Pacheco who passionately argued against those Brazilians who are always criticising their own athletes for not doing well, while not acknowledging the fact that there are many social problems and a lack of investments in pretty much all sports apart from football. This article seems to have gone down well with my Brazilian readers who understood what I was trying to achieve with it.
But in this article I wanted to point to one great example in Brazil, where children aged 12 are being taught explicitly about self-esteem. My wife Maria this weekend was in Belo Horizonte, where she attends a course on education and human values. Although this is designed to teach educationalists about how to give school children a sense of values, Maria is applying many of the lessons in business and industry as well, since human values are at the heart of developing a sustainable/resilient organisation.
In this class, Maria and her colleague Maria Izabel read a short story which allowed the children to discuss their own reactions and feelings. Also, they all sang together the song O Sol by Milton Nascimento, a wonderful song where he sings “Hey fear, I’m no longer listening to you. You don’t do anything for me.”
These lessons reminded me of the very wonderful documentary I saw recently about a fourth-grade class in a primary school in Kanazawa, northwest of Tokyo who are learning lessons about compassion from teacher Toshiro Kanamori. He instructs them to by getting them to write their true inner feelings in a letter which are then read aloud in front of the class. By sharing their lives, the children begin to realize the importance of caring for their classmates.
It was amazing how moved the children were after Maria and Maria Izabel’s class, and they all asked if they could come back the next day. This is just one example of many I am sure that are currently happening here in Brazil and many other countries too, but which are not receiving much publicity at all.
Education is also needed of course for people in business. In our technological and interconnected world, we have data, we have information and we have knowledge. But we are still lacking in wisdom, and this now is what the world so badly needs. Much of this wisdom I feel can come by allowing yourself to be taught directly by nature, and I will cover this in my next blog.