Monday, December 27, 2021

"You Did it by Yourself!"

 “Ask for help. Not because you are weak. But because you want to remain strong.”

-Les Brown

Based upon the actual definition of the word, “brainwashing” isn’t the correct word to use. But I will use it because I believe it best gets the message across. It is better to be understood accurately than to be misunderstood while technically correct.

The way we raise and educate our children is brainwashing. We take brains that are empty of information and we (try to) fill them with valuable lessons and morals. 

A child will take these lessons and use them during the course of their lifetime.

One lesson that we all bestow upon our children, is the lesson that was taught to us from when we were young, that the ideal is to be able to do something by ourselves.

Kids are rewarded when they can get dressed by themselves, tie their shoes on their own, and cross the street without assistance.

As they grow older, the goals become greater, but the message is still there, the ideal is to be able to do it by yourself.

Unfortunately, this message can be taken the wrong way.

By focusing on how great it is to do things by oneself, some children perceive it as a weakness if they are unable to, and therefore require assistance from others.

These same children turn into teenagers, and these teenagers turn into adults, all with the same belief:

“I am weak and I am a failure if I need help from others.”

If we want to end the stigma about mental health issues, if we want people to be comfortable seeking help, we need to start from the beginning.

Yes, we need to celebrate solo accomplishments. They are signs of growth and they’re worthy of being honored. 

But if we get carried away celebrating the solo, we risk brainwashing our children that they’re flawed if they need assistance. 

Life is about balancing many different things. These two opposite, yet equally important messages must be balanced. 

  1. Doing something myself is a sign of growth 

  2. Seeking and/or receiving assistance is not only ok, but it can also be a sign of growth

As it says in Koheles (Ecclesiastes), “There is a time and place for everything under the sun.” 

There is a time to do things alone and there is a time when one will need assistance of some type.

One is not greater than the other, it is all about knowing which applies when.

Yisroel Picker is a Social Worker who lives in Jerusalem. He has a private practice which specializes in working with people of all ages helping them understand their own thought processes, enabling them to improve their level of functioning, awareness, social skills and more.

To speak with Yisroel about presenting at a child safety event or to discuss a personal case, email him at

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