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VOICE of the People

January 21, 2001

Read and take heed of ‘The Wounded Spirit'

Once about every 20 years a book is written which I believe everyone should read and heed. I believe that such a book could make a vast difference in human lives and in the destiny of our nation.

In the late 7190s or early 80s a book appeared that warned us of the inroads drug addiction would make on the values of our nation, creating a generation of sociopaths.

The message was ignored.

The book's dire predictions have come to pass.

Last year a book was published by Word Publishing, Nashville, Tenn., which we cannot afford to ignore.

The book, by Frank Peretti, is titled "The Wounded Spirit." Peretti learned early in life that verbal abuse can poison the mind and twist the soul.

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He was the target of verbal abuse and ridicule as a child. Knowing that playground bullies grow up to become spouse and child abusers, he decided to write "The Wounded Spirit," based on his own experiences as the target of ridicule, bellittling and other forms of peer abuse.

As one of the walking wounded who will carry the festering scars of verbal abuse to her grave, I can attest to Peretti's claims that one's soul can be permanently wounded if he is subjected to the put-downs of his peers. In my case, the put-downs occurred in childhood' in the year of my first marriage; and an mid-life, at the hands of a boss with a Napoleon complex. I lost all confidence, all self-esteem and became an isolate.

The first chapter in Peretti's book is titled "Boy's Hell." Hell, in this case, is the school gymnasium and locker room. The victim is a boy small for his age (presumably Peretti). He is constantly physically and verbally abuse by other boys. To him, school becomes a place of horror — a torture chamber, with the gym as its epicenter, neither teachers nor parents intervening, philosophizing "boys will be boys."

Columbine's tragedy has taught us what the end result of such harassment can be. Personality disintegration is only one of the side effects on the victim.

Peretti's anguished memoir's message is crystal clear; it is a clarion call to end the destructive practice of puting others down and a challenge for the strong to protect the weak.

MERRY HARRIS

Ocotillo

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