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Dealing with Put-Downs (4 of 12)

Mike Connell

Page 7 of 10
You know what Jesus did? He put all the mockers out. He just rejected them all, put them all out, so that He could create an atmosphere, within which a miracle of life could take place. You have to put out of your life all mocking, belittling laughter that puts you down, in order to create an environment for you, to be able to build things that God can come in, and do creative things. Okay then, are we getting - it must be striking home, you're all getting real quiet, and looking at me like that aye? So we all know that there's someone who's done that. We've done it ourselves, laughed, and then realised there was a bite to the laugh.

Now here's the next one. You're going to like this one. It's the tall poppy syndrome, the tall poppy syndrome. I looked it up on the Internet to find out exactly what this thing is, the tall poppy syndrome. Now have you ever seen a poppy - it's quite interesting. It's just got a long single stalk, and then a flower on the top, beautiful flower often on the top. My mum used to love these poppies, and a tall poppy then is one that stands out above all the others, so a tall poppy then is a person who stands head and shoulders above others, because of their success or their position, or their money or their achievements in life, a tall poppy. The origin of the tall poppy syndrome is where people take a scythe through the poppy field, and they cut off every top, so everything is equalised. Okay, so the tall poppy syndrome is very common. It's actually found when you Google it, you find it's common in New Zealand and Australia. It's not referred to as being anywhere else in the world, just New Zealand and Australia. In fact, the Prime Minister of Australia said, one of the things we need to eliminate out of our culture is this tall poppy syndrome, because it stops excellence, and it stops achievement.

So what is the tall poppy syndrome? Well, the tall poppy syndrome is the words and behaviours intended to cut people down who are achievers, or excellent in their field in some kind of way. Now where it originated from was this. It originated as a reaction in New Zealand and Australia to the class system of England, and particularly the first place the tall poppy syndrome really began to express itself was against people who thought they were more important, or better than anyone else, or carried on like they were, or projected I'm better than you.

That came particularly out of the British class system, and so coming out to New Zealand, Australia, there was a strong reaction to the class system, and a culture of what we call egalitarianism - everyone is equal. It's got some really good things in that. However, the problem is - so what it did initially, they began to pull down and mock and laugh and belittle anyone who thought they were more important than anyone else, or better than anyone else. It started off as a reaction against the class system; now it's evolved. Now it's a reaction, usually rooted in envy, against anyone who shows excellence or achievement or gets ahead in a field. You know what the root thing that drives this tall poppy syndrome is? It's envy. The root behind it is envy, bitterness and envy. I'm upset because I don't have that.

Benjamin Franklin said this; you cannot strengthen a person by weakening another. You cannot add to the stature of a dwarf, by cutting the legs off a giant. That's not bad is it aye? You can't make a dwarf taller, by cutting the legs off a giant. It won't make you taller. In fact actually, it makes you a smaller person, so you can't do this thing without it, so of course it's rooted in envy. Envy is wanting to possess what someone else has, so jealousy is a bit different. Jealousy is when you have a bitter feeling about someone, and you have ill will towards them, because they have something you really want, or think I should have that! I should have that. Aah, watch the tall poppy syndrome come out. Soon, words and actions to cut the person down, belittle them, scorn them, find ways to explain why they've got where they've got, except the obvious thing which is they worked harder than you did.