The “IALAC” Story


All people are born with a big IALAC – a feeling that “I Am Lovable and Capable.”  Sadly, as we grow up, other people and events in life chip away at our IALAC.  To demonstrate how this happens, below is a story about a day in the life of Joshua.  Joshua is an 11 year old who is perhaps very much like you.


On this particular day, Joshua is awakened by his father who is yelling, “Joshua, you overslept again!!  What is the matter with you?  Hurry up or you will be late for school!  Joshua jumps out of bed and says to himself “I’ll hurry and I will be ready on time.”



Joshua got dressed and tried to get into the bathroom.  His older brother had the door locked and would not let him in. “You can wait your turn, squirt, I was here first.”  Josh waited and waited and waited and waited………



Joshua had been looking forward to his yummy, crispy crackling cereal.  As he entered the kitchen his mother remarked, “My, my Josh you certainly are the slow poke of our family.” “But…but.” he started to say.  “No time for talking now Josh, hurry you are late!!” said his mother.   Josh hung is head and sat down.  There was a bowl of now mushy, soggy cereal.



Not to be discouraged, Joshua gathered his homework and started walking quickly toward his bus stop.  He was proud of his science homework.  It had taken a lot of time and research.  He was eager to show it to Ms. Vega, his teacher.  As Joshua was heading toward the bus stop, a huge gust of wind blew up behind him and his science papers flew into the air and landed in a puddle.  He tried to grab them before they got all wet but they were soaked.



Josh was so discouraged.  He’d just have to explain things to Ms. Vega.  He started quickly toward the bus stop.  With only two blocks left to walk, he looked up and saw the bus pulling away slowly.  He ran but he could not catch the bus.



Josh had to walk the rest of the way to school.  As he walked in the door of the school, the principal, Ms. Johnson, stopped him.  “Joshua, you should be ashamed of yourself – 20 minutes late!  What do you have to say for yourself??...never mind now, you are so late.  Get to class this instant.  There will be no recess for you today   I want you in my office during recess.”


By this time Joshua was feeling so low.  He got to his classroom and began doing his work.  Then Ms. Vega said. “And now students please take out your science homework.”  Joshua slowly raised his hand and said, “Ms. Vega, I know you might not believe this, but as I was walking to school a huge gust of wind came up and took my homework…..”  Ms. Vega straightened up and said in a loud stern voice, “Stop…stop right there Joshua.  Students, if you don’t do your homework, please don’t make up ridiculous stories and excuses.  I want people to tell the truth in my class.”  She gave Joshua a very stern look and told him to sit down and be quiet.


Joshua had very little IALAC left.  As he walked to lunch, he said to himself, “Well at least a good lunch will make me feel better.”  As he carried his tray across the lunchroom, someone tripped him.  Crash!!

Down went everything all over the floor!  All the kids laughed at him.







1.) What things did others say or do to chip away at Joshua’s IALAC? Be specific and list all of them!


2.) By the end of the day in what condition do you think Joshua’s self esteem was?  Why do you think that?


3.) What do you think Joshua could do to improve his self esteem?  Hint: Look at your notes!!!


4.) If Joshua’s self esteem remains low, how will it affect him later in life?