Dear Amy: My son is a very cute and kind 12 year old who likes all of his seventh grade classmates, but he doesn’t have an open-minded personality.

Last week, Teacher asked all students to write down the names of their classmates who were “leaders,” and those leaders would have a pizza party.

After the students submitted their lists, the teacher announced the results.

All of the students in the class made “the cut,” with the exception of three students.

My child was devastated when they were disfellowshipped.

I wonder what kind of message that was.

As mental health problems become more common, children with low self-esteem could fall victim to this type of education.

At least children shouldn’t feel bad.

Please print out my letter so that other teachers are considered poor


– Sad Colorado mother

Dear sad one: Such a popularity contest among seventh graders should not be initiated by a teacher. Everywhere else, young people get enough of this subjective assessment. You are literally surrounded by it.

While it is important to talk to children about leadership skills, in my opinion this teacher shows poor leadership skills herself because she is conveying a discouraging rather than inspiring message that in all likelihood also confuses and embarrasses all “leaders” rather than excluded.

Not to mention the fact that when a class has 30 children and 27 of them are “leaders,” it seriously undermines the very concept of leadership.

I hope the three excluded can be proud to be part of such an exclusive group!

We take inspiration from lessons in leadership – both historically and in everyday life. Children should be taught to recognize leadership qualities in themselves and others, and encouraged to always strive to incorporate these positive qualities in their own lives.

And as much as everyone loves a pizza party, pizza lowers the notions of integrity, valor, and simple loving kindness that true leaders convey.

The real praise (and price) should go to the child who experiences this but rejects the whole performance and sees it as shallow and flimsy as a damp slab.

Dear Amy: My wife filed for divorce and I’m not fighting it. Essentially, she wants to be with other people, and that’s it.

I’m not begging her to stay and go to therapy because at some point when you love someone, you want them to be happy, even if that means being happy without you. I am trying to do that.

Here’s the kicker: She’s mad at me for being sad about the divorce.

She says that my sadness makes her sad and this is where I feel at a loss for what to do or say.

Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think it’s absurd to be happy that she loves me and that we are together and sad that the relationship is ending. I don’t understand how she expects me to suddenly care less about these things when I lose them.

I don’t see how I can be wrong when I feel sad inside about losing someone else’s love and losing a relationship, but that’s how she makes me feel – like I’m wrong.

It feels like she’s asking me to pursue an ideal of a relationship, to commit, but not really care about how things turn out.

Am I missing something here?

– Shouldn’t you feel sad?

Dear sad one: The only thing that you are missing here is the central and at the same time hardest lesson you can learn from a heartbreaking breakup: Your partner is no longer allowed to express an opinion about your feelings.

The person initiating the breakup often wants to alleviate their own feelings of guilt by insisting that this is really the best path for their partner to take.

Your wife is angry because your sadness is reminding her of what she did.

Go ahead and let your sadness spill over if you want.

Dear Amy: “Just like my mother” wrote to you that she is a “perfectionist” who cannot fall asleep until she has done chores around the house.

Although you gave your usual thoughtful and supportive response, HELLO Amy, this woman has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder!

– Disappointed

Dear disappointed: It is inadvisable to speculate and try to diagnose people, especially someone who is already seeing a therapist like this author did.

However, my readers show no such hesitation.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)