Some years ago the educational system culture began the self-esteem fiasco. Red pencils were trashed. The connotation was damaging to self-esteem. Every scrap of work was to be praised no matter how skilled the student was in working the new system–minimum effort gets maximum points. Trophies became the standard, handed to every kid on the losing team so self-esteem wasn’t damaged by the realization that the other kids played a better game. Birthday parties became expensive extravaganza’s competing against the last bash. The ME culture up and running with gusto.
As with all nasty medicines, this self-esteem prescription had a debilitating side effect–denial of personal responsibility and first focus on ME.
To be clear, each human has value. Each person deserves respect. Every level of honest effort and competence gets an ‘atta-girl/atta-boy’. But red pencils are necessary to effort and competence.
A Man I Know has reaffirmed another beautiful lesson. A vision of one’s place in the world cannot be from a mountain of ME.
A series of very difficult symptoms landed A Man I Know in hospital. Multiple tests determine a serious and potentially life threatening condition exacerbated my medication being taken for a separate and difficult physical problem. For multiple days various medical specialists came with their piece but it took far too many of those days to put the puzzle together. There continues to be gaps in the knowledge.
During those very difficult days, A Man I Know, soft-spoken and welcoming, rarely acknowledged his pain. His room felt like a haven for hospital personnel–a place to visit, share stories and be validated by the responses of A Man I Know.
In faltering English, the woman who mopped the floor, took 5 minutes to change the plastic bag in the waste basket, lingering longer each time she cleaned.
Another woman, taking the food tray, shared her story of upcoming testing to move up the caregiver chain.
Several nurses had life moments to share including the miracle birth of a child after years of longing. Another talked about the journey from an island nation, through New York and finally to Kansas. She decided that she couldn’t come to our Christmas celebration because alcohol was not a part of the day. All this with quiet smiles and a shared sense of fun. And all this directed to a man hiding his pain, terrified of the total picture that might emerge, listening, commenting and always welcoming.
Talk about an “I” Drop.