Back when I was a delinquent in high school and got myself kicked out of homeschool, my dad said something that really hurt. He knew me and my perfectionistic competitiveness, and told me that when I made the switch to public school I wasn’t prepared to take the high level classes that a lot of my over-achieving friends were taking.
Reeling in depression and failure at the time, the words my dad said really hurt my feelings. I suddenly felt inferior to my friends who excelled in classes that I would have failed. But he wasn’t wrong, and that’s the important part. If I had filled my schedule with AP or IB, I would have failed miserably despite what my own self-deluded pride had told me.
My dad’s hurtful words motivated me. I didn’t fill my plate with advanced courses, but I took the most challenging classes I thought I could handle.
Given that I hadn’t really actually learned anything since 7th grade and I was now in tenth, I had a lot of work to do to earn the right to take even more challenging courses. This involved graciousness on the part of my teachers and mentors, and at one point a one day crash in trigonometry which was all kinds of fun.
But in the end, my dad hurting my feelings led me to constructively mend the glaring fault that my dad pointed out. I was a bright student. but I hadn’t performed well and I suffered had suffered and needed to fix the consequences.
My feelings were hurt, but my character was built and I am better off for it. The paradox is that my dad hurting my self-esteem ultimately gave me self-confidence.
I had been riding the coattails of my brightness and past success to feed my ego, and I knew it. This gave me a restless insecurity because I knew my pride and self-image was coming from a fake source.
My dad’s words pushed me to work harder and achieve things that built a foundation for true confidence.
His hurtfulness didn’t insult my worth as a human or his son. That would have been unhealthy and wrong. But he was honest, and I’m glad he was because the results that came from his honesty were far more valuable than my feelings.
Latest posts by Kyle Huitt (see all)
- When Talking Heads Become the Minds of a Civilization - October 23, 2017
- What Everyday Christians Need to Know About Apologetics When Their Beliefs are Under Fire - October 17, 2017
- Can We Please Stop Calling Intellectual Rejects “Woke?” - October 4, 2017