Several months ago the parent book-club at North Star read a book titled, The Self-Esteem Trap:  Raising Confident and Compassionate Kids in an Age of Self-Importance, by Polly Young-Eisendrath.  The discussion was reflective on where we, as adults, fit into this in terms of our own up-bringing as well as on parenting styles.  The discussion was frank, open and productive with parents honestly sharing what they are doing well and identifying things that need to change in order to really support their children to be resilient, independent and confident.  

This week, the teachers at North Star began a six week mini-relfection series on the same book with each teacher taking the lead for one of the sessions.  I thought I would share one teacher’s creative summary of the book.  The following poem and its characters have now become a regular reference in conversations with her young daughter.  Enjoy!

The Ferrets and The Otters 

“A Cautionary Tale for Parents” by Sonia Garrett


Today we have a special tale

Of critters soft and hairy,

From whom I hope we’ll learn a lot,

Although the end is scary.


Mrs. Ferret worked all day,

She had six mouths to feed.

She fetched and cleaned and groomed and cared

She saw to their every need.


The Otters looked at their young brood

And saw the job in hand,

To teach their children how to live

Without them, both in water and on land.


“Aren’t they cute,” the Ferrets’ cried,

As the children played in the sun.

“They can jump and roll and play about.

They are kids and having fun.”


“Don’t they help you make a home

And collect the food they eat?

How will they ever learn to live

And not be cougar’s meat?”


“Let them be, they’re all too small

They’re playful, free and special.

Besides they all have different gifts.

Their light’s just under a bushel.


The otters learnt to build a dam,

Find berries, nuts and seeds.

They taught their young to protect themselves

And lie quietly in the reeds.


“Awesome” shouted the ferret’s Dad,

As his child rolled down a hill.

They only heard “Well done! Great job!”

As the talons sunk in for the kill.


For a human child the road is long

We have years to get it right.

It doesn’t matter where we start,

Just keep the end in sight.

(inspired by Polly Young-Eisendrath’s The Self-Esteem Trap)