The Courage to be Disliked

Bloodless BattlefieldsI just read about a book that is a bestseller in Japan titled, “The Courage to be Disliked.” I think I may order it.

Do you have the courage to be disliked?

One of my least favorite students laughed derisively at my uncompromising declaration about an assignment and mocked me to hilarious appreciative laughter from others and then she said venomously, “And you wonder why students hate you.”

My answer surprised her and the others that day as much as it did all the classes I had taught previously, when I answered in much the same way.

My response every time was: “I know why students hate me. It is actually my goal for you to dislike me, to be hated. It is not my intention to be liked by you; I do not need to be liked by you. If I were your friend, I wouldn’t be doing my job.”

When they inevitably asked, “Why?” I always elaborated: “One day, years from now, I want you to hear my voice when you’re filling out a job application. It will grate in your ears: ‘Where’s your period? It isn’t a sentence if it doesn’t have punctuation’ and ‘The subject of a sentence will never, ever, ever, ever, never, ever, ever, NEVER EVER be in an introductory clause.'” Yes, I really did say it just like that. Daily. Literally.

I told them my goal was to teach them skills so that one day they could get a job and keep a job.

Even if they hated me for it. Because one day, it might save their life.

That’s how much I loved them. Even the ones who hated me.