When we look closely at a beautiful quilt we realize that the individual patches are usually made from various materials and are from many different sources; such as hand-me-down clothing, baby jumpers, and hand stitched pieces made by grandma. Yet, sewn together they result in a ‘feel good blanket’ of warm comforting memories, and a reassuring family connection. I firmly believe that each one of us carries such a ‘feel good blanket’ – that very personal Self-Esteem Quilt- within ourselves. The many facets of Self-Esteem are the patches we pool from, and which provide the strength for a more tolerant, kinder and “bully proof” surrounding. They also represent the willingness to increase understanding and awareness of Self and of others. What is self-esteem? In context of the Quilt Concept, self-esteem is made of countless components like skills, knowledge, feelings, and attitudes. Ask yourself how you could find out what kind of Self-Esteem Quilt your students possess.

* How many patches has your quilt?
* How many of those are you truly using?
* How many are you willing to learn and pool?
* How many are you willing to share with others?
* How can you design your own life’s Self-Esteem Quilt?

How can we create our students’ personal Self-Esteem Quilt? Can we, by creating such a quilt, prevent horrific acts of violence in schools and homes? YES we can! My school project, the Cease Fire Kids (now named Toley Ranz), has proven that it IS possible. I deeply believe that every teacher can accomplish this seemingly impossible task. My aim here is to provide teachers with the tools to create, teach, and implement the components for such a quilt. The mere process of it increases step-by-step, or patch-by-patch?, protective, positive factors such as high self-worth. At the same time, it reduces low self-esteem actions and their impact on school participation.

The Quilt Concept uses innovative class projects, interactive games, and motivation for instant success in the classroom. This allows you, the teacher, to focus far more on educating your students about the wonders of the world, and- it creates harmony in your classroom. My experience has shown that alone by using the Quilt Concept as a self-esteem instrument I had spent much less time on correcting negative behavior.

In daily social behavioral patterns and interactions we recognize name-calling as a small individual step to wider prejudice; however, it is no small step from there to actual hate crimes or to ethnic harassment, or to bringing guns to school or insulting an entire race, ethnic group or people. Keeping silent is one of the most wide-spread forms of prejudice in our society! Teach your students to become individualized thinkers and speakers.

The goal of my Self-Esteem Quilt concept and method is to raise awareness of the grandeur of the SELF in each student, to recognize the beauty of ethical values, and the importance of each individual student’s emotional well-being. Teaching and learning ethical values and tolerance awareness must be a conscious, continued effort by teachers and parents. Don’t we know that awareness of self-esteem is a subject that cannot be taught like math and English? And don’t you agree that it is not enough to “just discuss” or say NO? Therefore, we, the teachers, are so challenged; it is important to have help and the self-esteem worksheets and lesson integration will assist in teaching, practicing, accepting and learning to implement the various patches. A teacher’s job is the life-line to a child’s development. And we know that intolerance and the lack of self-esteem is a learned behavior. It can be ‘unlearned’ with the means of the Quilt Concept. Colleagues, spread the Quilt in your classroom!

In an additional thought I like to point to a Quilt Concept segment for our younger students. Toley Ranz represents the small voice in each of us; and it helps kids to become aware of their “belly button gut feelings”, and how important it is to listen to that inner voice! It will guide kids to stronger self-assurance, encourages them to believe in themselves, and helps to overcome fear. The youngster can become “bully-proof”.

Remember that each patch of this Self-Esteem Quilt represents an emotional competency, a social and behavioral skill, and the knowledge of preventing the build-up of harmful emotions. Moreover, in concert with respect, understanding, caring and considerations, the meaning and the implementation of the Quilt Concept becomes a life style.

Use your red threat of love to sew the patches into an
awe-inspiring Self-Esteem Quilt!

“Tolerance and Self-Esteem is more than a LifeStyle,
it is the glue and mortar of society”.

Author's Bio: 

Anke Otto-Wolf is a published author, passionate teacher, and an authority on Self-Esteem; she has transformed 'wild' classrooms, from K-12, into tranquil, learning conducive environments; she manifests self-esteem in adult learners; she creates the Self-Esteem Tools for teachers and parents.

After an earlier successful career in the performing arts, Anke obtained a degree in Journalism; disillusioned about journalistic truth, she turned her passion to teaching which provided her with the opportunity to share her vast knowledge. Anke's intense work with inner-city kids has earned her many awards and recognitions such as from former President Bill Clinton and Marian Edelmann of The Children’s Defense Fund. Anke is also the co-writer for a socially significant video against violence, “Go Ahead and tell”, which won an Oscar 1994 from the film Academy in L.A. Additionally, during her years of teaching at inner-city schools, she learned first of 'her kids' deepest needs which spurned the creation and publishing of "The Psst-psst of Toley Ranz", an inspiring, educational series of children's books focusing on tolerance and self-esteem. Anke’s self-esteem guide for parents and teachers, “How Many Patches has your Tolerance Quilt?” is offering classroom proven solutions for teachers and parents. Her international success was evident when the Bavarian State Department of Culture & Education, Germany, requested in 2000 that she implements the Self-Esteem Quilt Project in middle schools.

Anke's website www.self-esteem-tools-for-teachers.com provides a wealth of suggestions, solutions and hands-on classroom proven material to boost Self-Esteem. It also contains detailed information about live workshops, e-classes and e-seminars, FREE call-in coaching sessions, books, and much more. Anke is a Jack Canfield trained international speaker and presenter.