I'm really, really good at taking criticism. Honestly, I will take every bit of criticism, constructive or otherwise, that you can muster and I will internalise it and keep it forever. I will take deadly seriously the thoughts and opinions of others and make them part of my sense of self. Even people I know to be complete idiots. So what? So far, so doormat is what you're thinking.I'm not proud of this and I certainly don't think it's a particularly effective way to live. The rational side of my brain knows that honest appraisal used sensitively followed by considered action is the only way to improve anything. But I can't seem to separate the useful from the useless. I take the well-meaning and the spiteful and roll it into one great ball of despair and then try to come out the other end. This is not something I want to pass on to the little people. However, is there anything worse than someone who deflects all critique as though they are teflon skinned? Who can shake it off like the proverbial duck? In my first teaching job, the headteacher showed me the difference between high self-esteem and healthy self-esteem. In our exuberance to raise our children's self-esteem we've allowed them to develop that teflon skin. So anytime they hear something potentially negative about themselves they refuse to engage with it. I have no idea how we're going to work on the healthy self-esteem thing yet with the littles, but I have a suspicion that I have to woman up and work out how to find it myself.