Kathy Mulholland's Story


I dared to not like people. By that, I mean as a child I observed how certain other children acted, and decided I did not want to be behave like them. For example, on the television program _Little House on the Prarie_, I decided to act nothing like the character Nellie. I knew enough \"real life Nellies,\" and I wanted to be kinder and less selfish. So I grew up deliberately trying to be kind (even to the \"Nellies,\" of course) but daring to decide for myself what was \"popular\" or who was \"socially-acceptable\" for my friends. This approach enabled me to make many friends across traditional socio-economic lines. As children are taught in school to value diversity and [show] respect [to] everyone, it is risky for them to disengage from others they feel are not good to have as friends....they risk being called names such as snob, shy, picky, even racist. This is because, sadly, it is \"politically incorrect\" and therefore dangerous to judge people by any measure, including the \"content of their character.\" In a society where diversity and tolerance are rightfully valued, our children are not learning that it is important to discriminate based on observations and information compared and considered with their own values (or the values taught by their families and cultural/faith-based groups)...prejudice means judginging someone unfairly without considering that person\'s individual merit, or jumping to conclusions based on assumptions about a generalized group...but if children are constantly told \"tolerate everything/respect everyone\" then they begin to doubt their own instincts in choosing friends and selecting positive role models. My middle-school aged son was involved in an \"intervention\" to address a disupte he had with another boy. The other boy complained, \"You just don\'t lke me because I\'m fat!\" To which my son replied, \"No, my best friend\'s fatter than you. I don\'t like you because you\'re a jerk.\" Now this wasn\'t the kind of thing the guidance councelor probably wanted to hear, but I was glad my son was confident enough to assert his dislike for the other boy based on the boy\'s behavior. (That being said, at the same time the \"anti-Nellie\" little girl in me was appalled he had called someone a name!)