How to Build Lasting Self-esteem | Tony Dungy

How to Build Lasting Self-esteem

So many of the subjects I discuss in my books – issues of respect, listening to your parents and other authority figures, and not merely doing what everyone else is doing – flow from a healthy sense of self-esteem. Building self-esteem is essential, not just in our kids, but in ourselves.

If there were only one thing I could leave you with, it would be this…

You Were Created By God and He Cares

It would be the understanding that you were created by God. Before you were ever born, God knew who you would be. Your abilities, interests, and passions are combined within you in a way that has never been seen before. You are unique, and that is good. That’s the way God intended it to be.

God doesn’t sleep, and He cares for you. As Jesus told the crowd that assembled when He gave what is known as the Sermon on the Mount, God takes care of the birds of the air and the lilies of the field.

And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?

God knows your needs and your desires before you can even ask. He cares about you in your day-to-day living, in your excitement, and in your grief, in your ups and in your downs.

Think About This

Now stop and think about that for a minute. I don’t know what you’ve experienced in your life or how those experiences have made you feel about yourself, but after reading those words-that God cares about you in every circumstance-do you think about yourself differently? I believe that God cares about all of us – He cares about me and about you.

The Next Generation

I am concerned about kids who never come to believe that about themselveskids who see themselves as cosmic accidents and haphazard, random events. If life is seen as accidental, then wasting my life, or taking someone else’s, may not be that big of a deal. 

“Life is precious and should be viewed as such. ”

If a child feels that no one really cares about him, what do you think he begins to feel about himself? Our world has already gone too far in that direction.

Life is precious and should be viewed as such. You were created by God.

Where do you find your self-esteem?


Tony Dungy says that being a father is his most important job, and with six children, it’s a job that keeps him very busy. Since his retirement from the NFL in January, Coach Dungy and his wife, Lauren, are enjoying their first real “off season” from professional football at their home in Tampa.

Coach Dungy’s fatherhood role model is his own dad, Wilber Dungy. Tony grew up in Michigan, and says his father was always there to support him and encourage him. From him, Tony says, he learned that being a good father takes commitment and compassion.

Quite simply, Coach Dungy loves being a dad. He says a good friend gave him some very important advice years ago, that he still tries to live by. The advice is this: fathers need to cherish whatever stage their children are in instead of wishing for the next one to hurry up and get here, because before you know it, that stage will be over, never to return again.