Wednesday, June 14, 2017

On self esteem

When I was a teenager, I read a story by another teenager. I don't remember who it was or even if they were male or female. It must have been someone famous or well-connected because ordinary people didn't get their stories published in those days. She, we'll say "she" although I don't remember, she was reading and found out about the Holocaust. No one had told her anything about it and then she found out about it.

In this, she was a lot like me and, I suspect, many other teenagers. The Holocaust was within living memory but it wasn't talked about for the same reason we didn't talk about Uncle Nick's suicide or Aunt Jane's affair; it wasn't talked about because it was horrible. This girl was also unlike me because she was Jewish. She'd been living a normal teenager's life and she then she found out that millions of people were killed for being what she was. And her life was never the same again after that.

I remember trying to imagine what that must have felt like. Today, we'd say I tried to empathize. And I realized I couldn't do it. In retrospect, I think that was one of the most important decisions of my life. It wasn't turning point. A whole lot of things must have been building up to it.

These days, there is a movement to protect kids from bad feelings that come from being attacked verbally or being exposed to hate. We want to protect kids from the realization that others hate them and that some of these others who hate them don't even know they exist and yet hate them just for being what they are. We try to eliminate language, movies, and language that might hurt them by making them aware of these hatreds.

But what about the Holocaust? It's a blunt fact that shouldn't be hidden. And even if you managed that trick, and there are some people who would if they could, there are other blunt facts waiting to surprise you. "Reality is the thing that won't go away if you ignore it." And reality is full of hate.

But now we call kids who say hurtful things "bullies' as if being made aware that others mock, disdain or hate you is just as bad as being punched in the face.

We've entire generations on this.

We've tried to protect them from experiences that are inevitable. In the process, we've given them the impression that they can get outraged when they have these experiences, experiences that almost everyone who ever lived has had to deal with.

And it's all based on bogus science.


  1. Hello Michel. I am a Pastor from Mumbai, India. I am glad to come across your profile on the blogger and the blog post. I am blessed and feel privileged and honored to get connected with you as well as know you and about your interest. I love getting connected with the people of God around the globe to be encouraged, strengthened and praying for one another. I have been in the Pastoral ministry for last 38 yrs in this great city of Mumbai a city with a great contrasts where richest of rich and the poorest of poor live. We reachout to the poorest of poor with the love of Christ to bring healing to the brokenhearted. We also encourage young and the adults from the west to come to Mumbai to work with us during their vacation time. We would love to have your people come to Mumbai to work with us during their vacation time. I am sure they will have a life changing experience. My email id is: dhwankhede(at)gmail(dot)com and my name is Diwakar Wankhede. Looking forward to hear fro m you very soon. God's richest blessings on you, your family and friends. Recently I was in the United States and would have been very glad to stop by your place and meet you. May be next year if I am able to come to States I will certainly try to meet you. I am visiting my son in Calgary, Canada and will be going back on 19th June .

    1. Oddly enough, you have posted an identical comment on 247 different sites in the last year.