Growing up – the diplomat’s dilemma

In my last few posts – since turning eighteen or starting year thirteen – it’s been about growing up, taking on responsibility and seeing that not much changes really.

But there is one thing I’ve noticed about myself lately.

Who knows it if has to do with my turning eighteen or starting year thirteen or maybe just spending a lot of time with people who expect things from you in a proper, formal way: I’ve stopped having an opinion in school.

There was a time in my school-life when I had an opinion on basically anything. It may have been unjustified or just plain stupid, but it was a strong opinion.

In school we’re taught to learn what this or that important guy said one time in history, taught to write a formal comment, discussion or any kind of essay – all according to school guidelines. From my German teacher I learned to express my teacher’s opinion on this or that book. In eleventh grade I had a German and History teacher who would have us discuss for hours and we said what we thought, no guidelines, only a subject and a vivid discussion. It was great. I enjoyed every one of them.

But those days are obviously over. I can tell you what Platon would have said about this or that. Over the last two years especially I’ve been given the impression that my opinion does not matter. Every time I wanted to bring in my thoughts I was reminded that that’s not part of the assignment and I should stick to what I know.

Somewhere between a pretentious discuss essay and a repetition of John Rawl’s views on justice I stopped having an opinion.

On friday we wrote a German exam and I completely failed the third assignment. “I want to hear YOUR opinion this time.” said the teacher. I didn’t have an opinion. I sat there and I wrote whatever came to mind, but there was nothing concrete saying: THIS IS WHAT I THINK; DEAL WITH IT!

After three years of ass-kissing and diplomatic behaviour towards those controlling my grades and well-being in school I’ve lost something.

Is this part of growing up? Turning off that little screeching guy in your head that yells the truth and nothing but the truth when you’re at work just to stay out of trouble, just to make sure that nothing changes?

If no one has an opinion, no one has a problem with anything, nothing changes. It seems I’m becoming a true member of society; a lying, smiling, proper member of society.

Maybe this is just a phase I’m going through and I will eventually get to the point when I have an opinion on everything again, only this time I can make it more convincing with grown-up type of facts and arguments! Life without opinions is so boring.

It’s a sad fact I just wanted to state. I still have opinions – but only as long as no one important is listening.

Here’s a fact: I’ve turned into a coward.


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