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Today in German class we learned the following word: das Durchsetzungsvermögen, which, our teacher told us, translates to the ability to assert oneself. To know not only what one wants to say, but to be confident and capable enough to say it. And, since we learned this word in the context of school related anxiety (Schulangst), she told us that she wants her sons to possess Durchsetzungsvermögen. And I said that, when I was young, this was really important—possibly too important—to my parents (I think that’s what I said, anyway).
I made a joke of it—my parents (and teachers, since we’re talking Schulangst here) did too good a job of teaching me to assert myself—but it’s true. Learning das Durchsetzungsvermögen was fundamental to my upbringing. It’s, for better or for worse (depends on whom you ask, probably), one of the words of vocabulary I’ve come across in any language that describes what I pride myself on. And it’s a reminder of part of the reason for which we—or why I, anyway—like learning other languages: to be able to further mein Durchsetzungsvermögen.
Even if I can barely say the word.