Grades are stressful. The pressure to excel is stressful. The expectation to be special, to win, to stand out, to be the best, is stressful. And these stresses are felt more intensely and more internally by some kids than by others. Not every child’s worth is going to be accurately measured by academic success or athletic prowess or by some obvious talent. So parents have to work with each one of their children to help them develop meaningful definitions of success that fit their temperaments, their passions, their gifts and their challenges. How do you love your child just as he is and, at the same time, help him to become his best self?
When discussing the differences between North and South in the 19 th century, obviously the huge elephant in the room is slavery. Slavery definitely affected the honor code inasmuch as it shaped the South’s economy and was part of the way of life whites wished to defend. It influenced it in other ways as well, but historians disagree on exactly how. Some think the fear of a slave uprising made Southerners more prone to engaging in reflexive violence – demonstrating strength as a warning against would-be mutineers. Some say that by including all whites in the Southern honor group, rich and poor alike, they pacified possible resentment from the lower class, and thus headed off the possibility of their teaming up with slaves in a rebellion against rich plantation owners. Slavery helped solidify the Southern hierarchy, and traditional honor thrives in an environment of “us vs. them.”
Publicly I was the poster child for the well-balanced, successful freelancer. Privately I was unraveling. Writing a book about creating a self-styled career you love had led me straight to a job I hated. I was supposed to be this emissary of work-life balance, the queen of controlling one’s career destiny. Yet Sunday evenings now gave me the same fetal-position dread my book claimed to help readers avoid. I’d gone to the hospital with chest pains in my thirties, for chrissake, racking up $4,000 in out-of-pocket expenses in the process.