It’s More Than Reading, Writing, ‘Rithmatic

Written by Antionette Meeks of Cairn Guidance, a Dove Self-Esteem Project Partner

 Reading, writing and basic mathematics are fundamental skills that individuals need in today’s world. While these are necessary skills enabling a person to conduct daily living activities and experience success in both their personal and professional lives, these aren’t the only skills needed by youth as they grow into adulthood.

 Youth need to feel confident and competent.  These feelings may be short-circuited by poor body confidence and low or no self-esteem. The results of which may lead to such outcomes as poor academic performance, absences from school, lack of participation in extra-curricular activities, such as clubs and athletics, and sharing opinions in large groups. In fact, Dove research shows that low body confidence in girls result in 8 in 10 reporting opting out of such activities.

 Some may say schools are only responsible for developing a student academically and not focus on the other affective determinants that are seen as primarily the responsibility of parents.  Others see the connection between social and emotional development as a partner in the growth of students.  If an output of education is to produce successful, contributing community members, then there is the necessity to focus on the needs of the whole child – intellectual, physical and emotional development.  Part of that emotional development includes body confidence and self-esteem.

 Thousands of educators across the US have implemented the Dove Self Esteem Project Confident Me! Lessons in 2018.  What they are telling us is straightforward: providing students with the space and skills to analyze influences and build their own self-concept is critical to their success in school and life.

“...this topic can often be “taboo” between kids and adults or parents. Both parties are uncomfortable talking about real life issues and topics, so they never thoroughly get discussed. Kids end up hearing about these issues from their friends or older siblings. Oftentimes, this information is not accurate and lacking important details. Confident Me! provides a great opportunity for these issues to be talked about, in class, and with peers that are dealing with similar struggles” — Teacher, Oregon
“Young people are bombarded with so much from peers and social media. I believe these lessons will help my students be more aware about themselves and how self-confidence and body image will enhance their confidence as they pursue various areas in their lives.” — Teacher, Tennessee
“Many students now understand how they can be manipulated by media. Many students were shocked at the transformation with photoshop and now look at advertisements as ‘fake’ images.” — Teacher, Florida
“We talk a lot about everyone being different and unique and how that is ok. We incorporate growth mindset and multiple intelligence concepts to help students see everyone has strengths and weaknesses and that with a positive mindset we can grow our skills.” — Counselor, North Carolina

Growing up can be an arduous journey within itself without the additional “drama” caused by feeling on the outside, unpopular, or unable to fit in, etc.  Youth are better able to learn and excel at their reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic skills when their body confidence and self-esteem are both in good places.  Educators cannot reach the core of the student’s academic prowess, if the student is concerned about other issues.  In this case, how they feel about their bodies and having low self-esteem.

 A respected partner helping educators increase both body confidence and self-esteem in our 11 to 14-year old youth, is the Dove Self-Esteem Confident Me! lessons.  These single and five-lessons  rooted in research and use evidence-based tools designed to support positive student growth in these two very important areas.  The single lesson can be used alone or as a booster to the five lessons.  While the content remains the same, the lessons have been refreshed with a new layout and graphics.  Visit the Dove Self-Esteem Project or contact Antionette at for more information.