Persons of the Dialogue
"What do they believe in?" Son asked.
"For one, the potential of their children," Director said in a matter-of-fact tone.
"Why do they believe in that?"
"Maybe it's because, in part, they don't want to be embarrassed."
"How does believing in their kids' potential keep them from being embarrassed?"
"Hope can drown out lesser, unpleasant feelings."
"But how do their children embarrass them?"
"The children might not live up to their parents' view of their potential, and certain parents feel responsible for that."
"They want their kids to be winners."
Director nodded. "What do they think that means, being winners?"
"Having success, however that is defined at any given time. The parents want to share in it vicariously, if not in a more direct manner."
"What do they think makes their children want to succeed?"
"Aside from the allure of success itself? I think the parents think their kids don't want to let them down. They play on this."
"Is it just the parents these kids don't want to let down?"
"No, and that's a good insight. These kids don't want to let anyone down, anyone who has formed an expectation on them. They want to be 'worthy'."
"Can we teach them how to let certain people down?"
"That's not an easy lesson to learn, Director."
"Is that because their own self-image is formed on these expectations of others?"
"Yes. And do you know what else I think it is because? Their parents teach them fight-them-or-fight-us. They pressure them from within their circle of family and friends, pushing the offspring to fight with outsiders for their success. The children are afraid to return without victory.
"Do you think this necessarily involves a sort of blindness on the children’s' part?"
"Of course it does."
"Do you believe one can recover sight?"
"Yes, I do," said Son firmly.
"One must unlearn what one knows about the outside, the things one learned while blindly driven for success. This process is both cognitive and experiential. There is danger in both sorts of unlearning. So the unlearner is better left to himself to work things through. The only support one can offer is to leave him alone."
"It seems to me that not too many know how to lend that kind of support."
Nick Pappas, pappasnick.typepad.com