Dealing with mockery

Few people go through life without at some time facing mockery. Children often tease each other unmercifully, and usually at that early age nothing seems more bitter than to be an object of ridicule—to be unusual and therefore apparently comical in looks or character, or to have different concepts of life from the average, which make one seem peculiar.

"Take no notice!" people may say to a tortured youngster. But it is well to learn the way to handle rather than ignore such childish teasing, because ridicule does not end with adolescence. It sometimes becomes even more pernicious. While satire has a useful place in society, mockery is a weapon more often deliberately wielded by senior tyrants for the purpose of breaking the spirit of one who holds unpopular views and forcing him to change them. And experience shows it can be remarkably effective in destroying individual and progressive thinking. It can even break the will to do what is right, making a victim follow the crowd into unhealthy and immoral ways.

You're going away to school
September 11, 1978

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