Steve Sisson, PhD.
Growing up, I had many challenges. I was the eldest son in a large family. At periods of time, my mother raised us alone when my father was convalescing in a VA hospital. My mother, whom I cherished, was the strength of her young family, but she had little time for individual attention. My father was a man of his time, the provider and disciplinarian of the family. He was a man that generally did not talk about his feelings.
I attended a Catholic elementary school that was very academically strong. However, the focus was on strict discipline, not building of a child’s self-esteem. There was also no support system for students who needed additional help with learning like myself. I was a fat child, challenged with learning, and I wore thick glasses. This provided ample opportunities for both my classmates, friends, and siblings to tease me, using colorful names.
In high school, I enrolled in college prep classes. In my junior year of high school, my student counselor met with my father and me. The counselor suggested that my going to a four-year college was not realistic because of my current grades and weak academic history. The counselor stated that I would probably be better suited to get a job locally or learn a trade. My father was employed by Kodak as a master mechanic, and he felt pride in passing along his mechanic skills and knowledge to his son. Therefore, it seemed that I was destined to stay in my hometown and learn to be a mechanic.
THIS WAS A TURNING POINT IN MY JOURNEY OF SELF-PERCEPTION. I decided, right then and there that I was going to go to college! I submitted multiple applications, and I was accepted at Central Missouri State College (a teacher’s college) on probationary status requiring me to meet a minimum 2.5 grade-point average. My parents were proud of me and helped finance my first semester.
I spent my first year in college immersed in studying to ensure that I achieved the minimum required grade-point average. The investment of time was well worth it. Due to my academic achievement, I was awarded a full scholarship my Junior and Senior years and a full scholarship for my Master’s program in Special education.
For 25 years, I worked as a teacher in classrooms and a mental health counselor in a hospital setting. When I turned 50, I applied to the University of Arizona’s post-graduate education leadership program. In 2001, I obtained my PhD., in Special Educational Leadership. For over 10 years, I worked as a Director/Principal of Education. I have had the joy of helping many children with education and self-esteem challenges and have served as an instructor in early childhood brain development.
A note about my father. I am proud of and love my father. My father did not like to talk about feelings. He was a brilliant man with a very high IQ. As a child and teenager, my father and I would “butt heads”. My mother would say we were very much alike. In my mid-twenties, I went back home to upstate New York for a visit. I decided it was time to change my relationship with my dad. On one early morning, my dad and I decided to go fishing. I had a heart-to-heart talk with him about how I loved him and wanted to have an adult relationship with him. I talked about my feelings and our unresolved issues. This was a very give-and-take conversation that resulted in a whole new start in our relationship as father and son. When my dad passed away in 2000 from dementia, I was so glad that I had resolved my relationship issues with him and that we had become good friends who could share feelings, love and respect for one another.
When I look back on my life, I did not have grandparents or anyone else to help me with building confidence and enriching my self-esteem during my young childhood years. Both sets of my grandparents lived far away, and made for little contact with us. My dad was a very hard worker and a good provider, while my mom had seven kids and a household to manage. Getting any special time from either of my parents was a rarity. It would have been very helpful to have someone to mentor me and provide that added guidance to build my self-confidence and self-esteem in those younger years.
In my lifetime, I have written over a hundred songs, in which many focus on self-esteem. I have written songs for my parents, wife, daughters, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, other friends and family members.
As Grandpa Steve, my goal is to share my ideas and music with the world, to give parents and grandparents resources to nurture positive self-esteem in their children and grandchildren, and to help children feel good about themselves and good about their lives. I truly believe that if enough people felt good about themselves and their lives, then we would have a better world. This is my way of giving back to the world for the love and generosity that I have received from so many in my lifetime.
GrandPa Steve's Kids
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Creating awareness in parents, grandparents, teachers, and caregivers of the importance of nurturing positive self-esteem in children. Grandpa Steve incorporates science-based information and education, original music, and tools to help build positive self-esteem in newborns and children of any age in their lifetime journey.
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