Self-confidence… and the opinion of others.

In a recent public radio programme dedicated to the problem of young people coming off the rails at school, all the evidence and experience corroborate to underline the importance of not considering the problem as a fait accompli.
The conversations also highlighted the patent lack of self-confidence which each of the young people possessed : so wounded have they been during their lifetimes by being constantly affronted with other people’s negative opinions of them.
Over the course of years it’s important to make sure that things evolve slowly for them in this domain instead of going backwards…
And still, unhearing, sometimes by blows, the haunting spiral of defeat and rejection revolves ; which relegates increasing numbers of our citizens to the margins of society from where it is safe to say that there is no coming back save for the formidable and relentless work of associations like ours.
Breaking this process of marginalisation and jeopardy, allowing each individual to rediscover their self-confidence as a foundation for any socialisation worthy of the name — that is nothing short of the essence of the whole project of the association. In other words, it’s the knowledge of having one’s self-confidence recognised and validated in the eyes of other people, which opens the door to creativity and to social evolution. Faced with a crumbling society, the most fragile among us will disintegrate, and it is the eminent role of the associations to allow the people we accompany to make sense of the scattered puzzle of a badly-led life.
Not stigmatising difference, fragility and failure, teaching the rediscovery of an honourable place among one’s peers : these are the benchmarks of all social intervention, whether for adults or for young people — along an often complex route, criss-crossed with difficulties, successes and failures, but always travelled in the firm and resolved desire for the success of the people we accompany.
How, then, can we apply the common thread of this principle to the current debate about homosexual marriage ? In order to best do so, it is useful to step back from moralising in order to hold up one essential principle before our eyes : knowing how to not discriminate.
Refusing to discriminate means not interfering with other people and accepting their differences — along with all that that involves : complexities, difficulties, but also richness and potential growth.
Whatever forms the new laws will have in the end, it will have been with gay marriage as it was with the recent issues around the Roma people : something to do with the fear of the other.
As it happens, this present question is about a form of sexuality which doesn’t obey traditional canons and which should have the right to be recognised.
In this debate of society, like others before it, calm reflection must carry the day over passions and caricatures. Here again the recognition of difference in the other can be a source of progress — which doesn’t mean abandonment and letting it lie.
A modern and democratic society can be measured by its ability to do and say the right thing towards the evolutions which progressively shape it.
Enshrining difference in law gives a definitive means by which any group of society can be positively and enduringly recognised in the eyes of everyone else. That’s certainly got something to do with self-esteem !
The President
Francis Bouten