Wednesday, 6:33 am
“The most destructive criticism is indifference.” – (Edgar Watson Howe)
This post is about the one thing you must not do. When you’re tired, frustrated, upset and crying yourself to sleep at night because of your teen’s out-of-control behavior, this can seem like your best option…
…It never is!
Woman Beat To Death By Ex-boyfriend Outside Of Traffic Court (philly,pa)
A 21-year-old pregnant woman died following a beating outside
traffic court in Spring Garden, just outside of Philadelphia, PA.
A witness reported, “We saw all these guys beating this girl and
no one tried to help. She was screaming for help,
‘stop, please, help me!’”
Pluralistic ignorance is a form of social proof, “in which each person decides that since nobody is concerned, nothing is wrong. Meanwhile, the danger may be mounting to the point where a single by-stander, uninfluenced by the seeming calm of others, would react.” (Influence, p. 133)
Basically, you and I are less likely to help someone in danger if we are in a group of by-standers than if we are a single by-stander.
Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate, might say the reason no one stepped in to help the 21-year-old pregnant woman was…
What is indifference? In a 1999 speech, titled The Perils of Indifference, given at the The White House, Wiesel said, “…the word means ‘no difference.’ A strange and unnatural state in which the lines blur between light and darkness, dusk and dawn, crime and punishment, cruelty and compassion, good and evil.”
The dictionary defines indifference as…
…a lack of concern or interest.
So what does this have to do with you? A LOT!
Pluralistic ignorance is a psychological phenomenon in which you involuntarily respond to a situation based on how the other people around you are responding.
Indifference, on the other hand, is a voluntary choice. For example, “what happens to my neighbor is a matter of utter indifference to me.”
Wiesel went onto say…
“Of course, indifference can be tempting — more than that, seductive.
It is so much easier to look away from victims.
It is so much easier to avoid such rude interruptions to our work,
our dreams, our hopes. It is, after all, awkward, troublesome,
to be involved in another person’s pain and despair.
Yet, for the person who is indifferent, his or her neighbor are of no consequence. And, therefore, their lives are meaningless.
Their hidden or even visible anguish is of no interest.
Indifference reduces the other to an abstraction.”
This is important — when it comes to our teens and our relationships with them, the most dangerous thing to say yes to is…
We reduce them, through our indifference, to abstractions!
Their pain and despair not only makes us feel awkward and uncomfortable…
… it reminds us of our own private anguish.
Their joy and happiness not only makes us feel inept and unworthy…
… it reminds us of our own failures.
After all, as Wiesel said, they are… rude interruptions.
However easy it is for you and I to do so, it is 100 times, no 1000 times more destructive to look away than it is to act.
When you are tired, frustrated and upset, backing down, giving up and crying yourself to sleep are never the best option.
Be too restrictive or be too questioning…
… but do something. Say something.
Just don’t be…
Anything is better than indifference.
Remember the 21-year-old pregnant woman who died? The best defense against pluralistic ignorance and indifference is…
If you find yourself in a crowd watching someone in danger, remember what you learned here today. Do not choose to act or not to act based on the “seeming calm of others.” You now know better. It is better to act and look like a fool, than to not act and witness, quite literally, a pregnant woman be beat to death.
… if you find yourself tired, frustrated, upset, unappreciated and crying yourself to sleep at night because your teen’s behavior has you feeling like your hands are tied, don’t do nothing.
P.S.S. VENT!!! If your not sure you want to contact me, BUT would like to get your frustrations, anger, worry, HELPLESSNESS off your chest send, me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or VENT!!! This is completely confidential and you will not receive an email from me other than an automatically generated email.
P.S.S.S. Be sure to leave a comment. Tell me what you think. Do you agree with me or do you think I am full of…?