Oct 15, 2013
"My Parents Brainwashed Me"

Teenager Ethan Metzger tells the Bronx Youth Poetry Slam what he responded when told his parents brainwashed him.

The first Annual Bronx Youth Poetry Slam, a competition at which poets read or recite original work, took place in May 2013 at the Kingsbridge Library in the Bronx, NY.

It was curated by Community Board 8 Youth Committee Chairman Lamont Parker and 'Advocate of Wordz'.

"Ethan Metzger did not advance to the second round, but this poem was my favorite one from the evening," said 'Advocate Of Wordz'.

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Opinions and Comments
Fist pump
(10/16/2013 4:00:36 AM)
Kol hakovod
Very well done
(10/16/2013 6:51:18 AM)
That is great.
(10/16/2013 7:09:10 AM)
Nice to see
Kol Hakovod to this young man
(10/16/2013 7:54:09 AM)
great job
(10/16/2013 7:54:25 AM)
(10/16/2013 8:04:56 AM)
Very good.
Could this possisbly be transcribed and printed here Ltoieles Horabim?
(10/16/2013 8:11:47 AM)
Love it
This is fantastic!! I can't wait to show it to my 13 year old.
(10/16/2013 8:23:24 AM)
This is great!!!
(10/16/2013 8:41:06 AM)
(10/16/2013 9:24:04 AM)
So beautifully said!
And So much to take to heart!
(10/16/2013 9:47:47 AM)
We should send this to the gov't of Quebec - they are convinced that religion is a TERRIBLE idea and we ruin our kids with "Brainwashing".
What an amazing kid - maybe he should run for politics!!
(10/16/2013 9:57:27 AM)
wow, that was beautiful!
I have chills
amazing writing
(10/16/2013 10:13:08 AM)
(10/16/2013 10:15:55 AM)
Well there is some truth to that, but what can I say people focus on what they want to focus on.
(10/16/2013 10:20:11 AM)
Thank you!!!
Thank you for so coherently putting into words what we are all thinking but not able to!
(10/16/2013 10:56:24 AM)
his parents must be so proud!
(10/16/2013 11:30:24 AM)
I lllllike it!!!!!!!!
(10/16/2013 11:34:37 AM)
FANTASTIC! Yasher Koyach & Kol Hakvod
What Jewish Pride!
How Empowering!
Compulsory viewing for every FRUM child.
(10/16/2013 11:58:48 AM)
to #1 -
you might just be my favorite person in the whole world!

Fist Bump
(10/16/2013 12:08:59 PM)
Words that paint a picture...
so powerful.
(10/16/2013 12:50:51 PM)
Kidush Hashem
Is he related to Dr. Metzger at Stern College?
(10/16/2013 1:42:24 PM)

WOW an article with only up beat comments
Moshiach must be round the corner
This has to be a first and a record
(10/16/2013 2:00:40 PM)
This is a real kiddush hashem
This boy is more eloquent than most and has been able to express this so beautifully
(10/16/2013 2:59:19 PM)
go ethan, cont. being an inspiration to those around u!
(10/16/2013 4:24:46 PM)
Great Poem
Any education is actually "brain washing".

People refer to it as education when they agree with the ideals, and as brain washing when they dont.
(10/16/2013 4:57:37 PM)
to #20 -
You're very awesome, Thank you for acknowledging people!

Fist Bump!
(10/16/2013 5:08:45 PM)
Yasher Koach!!
(10/16/2013 5:25:06 PM)
Really great!
(10/16/2013 6:05:22 PM)
Yeah !
(10/16/2013 7:00:14 PM)
Beautifully put
(10/16/2013 7:31:38 PM)
so great
I'm glad someone said it, we're not brainwashed kids, we're proud kids.
(10/16/2013 7:54:48 PM)
just fantastic!
you said it so well kid!
(10/16/2013 8:02:04 PM)
humbled and inspired
the image of g-d running millions of marathons every day!!! wpw!!
(10/16/2013 8:13:47 PM)
What a King!!
(10/16/2013 8:34:46 PM)
Amazing!!!! Very well said. Your parents must be very proud of you.
(10/16/2013 8:51:44 PM)
Applause, Applause!
(10/16/2013 8:53:37 PM)
So true and well expressed!
(10/16/2013 9:37:55 PM)
Very well thought out and very entertaining...good message....I loved it!!
(10/16/2013 10:00:25 PM)
Well Done!
The student becomes the teacher.
(10/16/2013 10:12:31 PM)
Finally teens getting positive attention!
(10/16/2013 10:21:34 PM)
Wow wow wow
Awsome !!!
(10/16/2013 10:42:34 PM)
Wow! Just wow
(10/16/2013 11:06:04 PM)
The soul of Judaism.
(10/16/2013 11:10:27 PM)
Great parents, great kid! So impressed! Wish all parents and kids were taught this way!
(10/16/2013 11:36:39 PM)
(10/16/2013 11:39:07 PM)
Wow!!!amazing!!!may more teenagers learn from your lesson
(10/16/2013 11:54:42 PM)
He sounds like the next Charlie Harari! Aweome job!!
(10/17/2013 12:02:21 AM)
Loved it!
What an impressive young man.
(10/17/2013 12:30:28 AM)
Just beautiful.
Yasher koah!
(10/17/2013 2:52:15 AM)
Yeshar Koach
This needs to be shown at every school, to every kid. Kol Hakavod.
(10/17/2013 4:53:43 AM)
Des Moines, Miami & Jerusalem
I only hope I have brainwashed my children so beautifully. Yaasher Koach to all those parents and the generations who will follow.
(10/17/2013 5:28:54 AM)
Controversial opinion
Whilst I thought the delivery was very good and Ethan clearly has talent, I feel he somewhat missed the true nature of the accusation levelled at him by his classmate. I hope that in discussing my opinion below I'm not accused of being facetious, as if poetry isn't allowed to be discussed then are we missing some of the point?

What he has done, in my opinion, is conflate the inherent Human values of social cooperation that has allowed our species to thrive with the strictures and oft-arbitrary controls of religion. The values he espouses, and that I too agree with, are present too in other belief structures such as those held by Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Humanists, Buddhists etc. Did his parents avoid religion until he was older to discuss the many religions available to let him choose one or none? Did they create an environment, perhaps even tacitly, in which it would be harder to rebel against their view of Judaism? Did they say that this is what they believe and it's ok to question and not believe? Many beliefs many of us carry have been influenced by the society and culture we live and grow up in. To say that the positive and compassionate values ones parents relay to their child is the same as enforced (even if enforced gently and lovingly) controls over the self is, to me, disingenuous. If he wakes up one day, finding an absence of belief, I imagine such a poem would be diametrically different.

Just my 2 cents, not my intention to offend, just to question.
(10/17/2013 7:11:51 AM)
I like your opinion. It wasn't offensive.
All brainwashing isn't good brainwashing.
(10/17/2013 9:00:11 AM)
refreshing and intelligent
In today's world, to hear such a young man say what he did and master its delivery in such a manner, is outsanding. Way to go Ethan. Can't wait to hear from you in the future, because you have a great one ahead of you...
(10/17/2013 9:16:56 AM)
to #53
I think modern society has a warped position on 'freedom to choose'. ALL people are 'forced' into countless social structures and none of them seem objectionable, but when it comes to anything religious, people insist on letting children choose for themselves. Do we leave kids naked until they mature, so that they can 'choose' whether or not they want to wear clothes? Do we speak dozens of languages to them so that they can 'choose' which language best suits their needs? Do we allow them to steal, injure, act obnoxiously, pollute, or any other currently 'unacceptable' behavior so that they can have the freedom to make a completely unbiased choice on these issues? Some choices are not healthy. No. we mold, shape, guide, encourage, stress, advocate... and hope that our efforts will instill in them similar values, priorities and behaviors that we deem worthy. Yes it is subjective. Yes, in some cultures and environments it causes problems, but the alternative is anarchy, chaos, and harm. It is irresponsible NOT to give your children social skills, education, and MORAL CODES to guide them in life. We get our moral code from Torah. I think that religious belief is important, crucial in fact, and not just a theoretical, philosophical construct to ponder in a university lecture hall. I think the wonderful Human Values you respect are actually products of this religious belief system, even historically.
(10/17/2013 11:35:33 AM)
To #53
Brainwashing is: to make (someone) adopt radically different beliefs by using systematic and often forcible pressure.

While an argument can conceivably be made that a parent inculcating religion into their childrens life at an early and impressionable age is brainwashing (and in a purely philosophical respect its a fair point) it is an absurd notion in practical sense. We all brainwash out children, despite our best intentions. We as people are mimetic. We imitate what we see others do. When a child is born to religious parents they learn to speak, and how to think all under the guidance of a person leading a religious lifestyle, and for a parent to go out of their way and radically alter their lifestyle just so that they could afford their child the opportunity to choose religion as an adult is an incredibly impractical way to live. A parent does the best they can to raise their child with good values. Its ok for a parent to raise their child in their own religion, as long as when their child is old enough they are intellectually open and honest with that child and instill in that child the abilities to be skeptical, and think critically. A religion, or religious person that expects, or teaches a child to suspend rational thought when he approaches the concept of g-d is indeed doing their child a disservice, and perhaps then might be guilty of brainwashing.
(10/17/2013 11:54:17 AM)
CLASS ACT!!!! You said what you needed to say with such GRACE!!!!! Beautiful speech
(10/17/2013 12:09:07 PM)
thank you.
(10/17/2013 12:41:24 PM)
train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6
and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house,..
Deuteronomy 6:7
Wonderfully said and enjoyed
(10/17/2013 1:13:18 PM)
How fabulous! I can only imagine how proud your parents are of you - especially considering I have never even met you and am proud of you as I can be!
(10/17/2013 1:27:34 PM)
We are all brainwashed by parents , society, etc. Even athiests
(10/17/2013 1:45:35 PM)
wow! just wow! fantatsic teen, would love my kids to grow up and feel this way :-)
(10/17/2013 2:39:51 PM)
Very Good
I wish I had a transcript of the words he spoke I could not quite understand every word
(10/17/2013 2:49:59 PM)
(10/17/2013 2:57:22 PM)
First of all, I respect this young man incredibly. He is a choice young man. Secondly, #53 brings up a point worthy of discussion which is answered perfectly by #56 and #57. The only thing I might add to respond to #53 is that the difference between the " the inherent Human values of social cooperation" and the result (or blessings) of "oft-arbitrary controls of religion" are hard to discern at an early age or early stage of practicing religion. It is after the leap of faith that some of these blessings come to fruition. He could very well write another poem in a few years on the blessings and freedoms he obtained from adhering to these so-called restrictions.
(10/17/2013 3:58:18 PM)
My Own Mind
Think your Thoughts be sure they are from your good heart.
(10/17/2013 4:10:55 PM)
Bravo!!! To you and your parents !!!!they raised an intelligent young man, who's not afraid to speak up and voice his opinion, who knows right from wrong, who sees others before himself. Yeshar cohach!!! May you continue to be a four w of nachat to your family and the entire Jewish nation !!! Kol hakavod !!!!!
(10/17/2013 4:32:56 PM)
How Wonderful
What a great tribute to his parents. They must be so proud.
(10/17/2013 4:48:52 PM)
I couldn't stop crying this was so beautiful!
(10/17/2013 5:28:43 PM)
such an amazing young man
(10/17/2013 5:42:28 PM)
I found this very inspiring. Does anyone know how we can contact him to express our appreciation.

Brain washed - a clean brain , fresh and clean from impurities.
(10/17/2013 7:06:43 PM)
God Bless this young man and his parents with such Love and conviction of all that is good.The world needs much more of this.
(10/17/2013 7:19:03 PM)
Incredible words from a very smart Jewish young man
I'd like to think that I've brainwashed my kids to have the same beliefs and ideals of this young man. That's what it's all about, isn't it? Yasher Koach!
(10/17/2013 7:50:25 PM)
I wish more parents would brainwash their kids that way.
(10/17/2013 9:17:21 PM)
(10/17/2013 10:09:53 PM)
#53 replying to #56 and #57
To #56: I was not disagreeing with your premise of moulding ones children into behaviours that we deem 'worthy'. Of course it is irresponsible to not teach your child to become a compassionate and caring member of society. I dislike the word 'moral' as it is used without definition. In some countries it is 'moral' to stone a woman to death for extra-marital sex. Thus, the idea of morals should be framed within the context of what they mean. The Torah speaks of and condones slavery, and I would make the accusation that in our 'modern' world such 'morals' are obsolete and even offensive. I have to emphatically and totally disagree with your supposition that human values are "products of this religious belief system", the evidence just does not support that. Our species has been around for hundreds of thousands of years, we had to cooperate to survive. From this certain values, or morals, arose that benefited the group. When we progressed to an era in which we had the tools, capacity and understanding so we, naturally, codified it. That, to me, is where religion comes from, a by-product of evolutionary psychology.

To #57: Because something may be absurd in practice in no way absolves it of objective criticism. Throughout human history many atrocious beliefs were absurd to disagree with, including slavery and genocides. The ability to question and be sceptical is, as you highlight, critically important, but you must recognise that when it comes to religion, any religion, this force is suppressed. Why can't Jews eat pork/shellfish? There is no explanation, no questioning, no rationalisation it just "is". That is telling your child that there are some things that are impossible to know. You can never work hard enough or long enough to discover the answers. Other thought structures, such as that of science, are fiercely sceptical, highly critical and recognise our human fallibility in order to, at least, know the once-thought un-knowable.

Look, to both and all, I'm no where naive enough to think that in raising a child one wouldn't try instil values positive to our species. What I am saying is that all religions come to similar conclusions, all over the world and separated by time and distance. We have codified many of these values in order to make sense of a chaotic and unforgiving environment. In many circumstances these codifications present barriers to greater cooperation and understanding. Religions take on their own form and, if one cannot personally find evidence of a God or Gods, place constrictions on personal behaviour in a highly arbitrary and pervasive manner, covering such basic things as what one eats, how they wash and even how and when they have sex. Ethan never answered the question of 'you don't follow these laws out of your own free will, your parents just made you keep them', he talked about good values, values shared by those who lack completely any 'religion'. Maybe group conditioning would be a better phrase than brainwashing. This happens for all thought structures, religious or non-religious alike. The only way we can move forward is by recognising that it occurs. I try see it with my own beliefs, it is not a slight on your religion to try recognise and accept the nature of the thing with yours...
(10/17/2013 10:31:17 PM)
You don't understand how much he understood that social moment
(10/17/2013 10:31:33 PM)
to #74
very very nice

thank u i liked your brain wash
(10/17/2013 10:41:47 PM)
Well done. Very proud of you!!!!!
(10/17/2013 11:01:34 PM)
You have SKILLS!!! Well done!
(10/18/2013 12:14:29 AM)
Thank you
For sharing your amazing, beautiful words. I couldn't agree more with the way my parents raised me!!!
(10/18/2013 12:19:07 AM)
your one of a kind
Love you brother i just finish translated in hebrew and iam going to rehab in isreal and olot of that great stuff we have in are brain but in life we dont have guts to say it or this world is very hard thanks for the confdets you showed love and peace
(10/18/2013 1:19:01 AM)
Thank you! so powerful!
may you grow to always be proud to be "brainwashed" to serve Hashem and to teach your children, too!
(10/18/2013 3:06:42 AM)
(10/18/2013 3:29:08 AM)
Thank you! Great Job!!
(10/18/2013 3:36:48 AM)
Thank You
Kol Hakavode Ethan and Yasher Koach!
I wish more parents would "brainwash" their kids into the values and morals you have been taught!
(10/18/2013 7:12:38 AM)
WOW! I pray that I have infected my children and brainwashed them like this young man has been. God bless him and his parents.
(10/18/2013 8:14:34 AM)
an honest recital
excellent. kol hakovod.
(10/18/2013 8:45:53 AM)
My Parents did that too barouh ashem !
(10/18/2013 9:10:32 AM)
Brought tears to my eyes. Great job Ethan.
(10/18/2013 9:23:53 AM)
I feel better now...
The world has at least one person with his head on straight. Way to go, Ethan.
(10/18/2013 10:15:13 AM)
A yosher koah to Ethan and his parents.
You must have made your parents very proud of you! May you continue t bring them such naches in all of your future endeavours.
All the best to you, Ethan!!
Hope that we will hear from you again!!
(10/18/2013 10:34:15 AM)
To Ethan's Parents
I hope to as effectively "brain wash" my own children. Job well done!
(10/18/2013 11:05:05 AM)
a leader
that's standing alone, and winning my friend , awesome
(10/18/2013 11:14:03 AM)
Love this
Brain washing, no matter what you call it, is an innate part of parenting. We take babies whose every instinct tells them to scream when they want something, smack you when they don't, and grab everything their heart desires, and we teach them to discuss their needs, moderate their desires and compromise and play nice with others. Laundry, in the highest degree!
(10/18/2013 11:29:35 AM)
in awe
i am truly in awe. I want to give you the greatest compliment I know. You are a mentch.
(10/18/2013 12:07:56 PM)
My Parents brainwashed me
Very uplifting. Renews my faith in future.
(10/18/2013 12:20:54 PM)
Religion is terrible
parents could have spent so much more time instilling values and education other than delusion and group think.
(10/18/2013 12:24:56 PM)
"Brainwashing", teaching and Loving.
One mustn't forget that this young man is still a child. The issue of religion came at the end of his poem. (And that may have been the issue brought up by his friends when they called him "brainwashed")"That is not to say it isn't important. The other issues of social morays, caring for others, living within the rules of humanity come first in his poem. We should all, as children, have parents who make those parts of life IMPORTANT. Perhaps some of the ills of our society would go away,if parents instilled (or brainwashed) their children with those feelings,
(10/18/2013 12:25:33 PM)
yasher kocho for this kidush hashem , made me cry
(10/18/2013 12:38:04 PM)
Got the chills. That was great!
(10/18/2013 12:52:50 PM)
Well Done, Ethan. This is something I've been thinking about lately. Thanks for putting it into words.
(10/18/2013 12:54:13 PM)
Right. I never understood the herd mentality process.
(10/18/2013 1:03:44 PM)
Untill you have walked in their shoes
Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your shoes. It is true.... so many people judge religious life, because they have experienced a certain religion, or a certain person living a certain religion, but you can not judge untill you have lived it. Religious upbringing or not, we all have to make a choice as to what we will live.... It is a choice.
(10/18/2013 1:07:13 PM)
to #53
u mention that " Our species has been around for hundreds of thousands of years, we had to cooperate to survive."
just saying- we do believe the world is only 5774 yrs old. btw
(10/18/2013 1:31:47 PM)
Exactly what someone who was brainwashed would say. Can we say religious stockholm syndrome?
(10/18/2013 1:32:20 PM)
I am not Jewish, but this kid was amazing!
I am LDS and because of my religion people try to TELL me how my religion treats me and how I am also brainwashed and how I must be polygamist. My religion does NOT practice polygamy and I'm sick of people just automatically assuming what goes on in my religion! I believe in God because I want to, NOT because I was forced to! I can think what I want and DO what I want and as long as I remember the values and morals I was taught by my parents and those teachers I have in my religion, then I can be happy with the life I am living! Well said Ethan!
(10/18/2013 1:51:41 PM)
TO #106
LOL- very solid point. not sure what he meant by that
(10/18/2013 1:52:57 PM)
nice shirt
looks like nike got to you too
(10/18/2013 2:58:25 PM)
What a wonderful young man. I'm sure he is a pleasure to know and his parents are proud.
(10/18/2013 3:38:04 PM)
Ethan metzger
Grate though and true reality
(10/18/2013 3:46:30 PM)
Honour thy parents
I believe with all my heart that even God will look with great love upon the children born to parents of diverse and different religions, who have obeyed the commandment and honored their parents. Is he not the God that sent them? I await the Judgement day when I believe that many of us will be shocked at who will pass through at the will of the Almighty .
(10/18/2013 4:03:17 PM)
I am a member of the Church of LDS and this hit home for me. I was definitely "brainwashed" to do the right thing as well. Very well said Ethan. Loved it!
(10/18/2013 4:07:17 PM)
I am LDS, too, and think that parents should train the child in their religion. If there comes a day the child wants to change religions, he or she may.
(10/18/2013 4:30:49 PM)
totaly agree!
me too i'm alsow lds and was often told i'm brainwased... i totaly agree, that if being tought whats right means i'm brainwashed than i alsow say, you can call me brainwashed, i'm happy and thankful i am! may we all be more respectful to each other and try to understand each other better an so learn from each other and get a own opinion or better sayd testamony :)
(10/18/2013 5:16:40 PM)
Steven Roseman
(10/18/2013 5:21:57 PM)
A Teacher, too
As an English teacher, I am so proud of your passion for words and goodness. I, too, believe in teaching- my students and my own children and grandchildren. Being taught to believe is equal in importance to being taught to question. Questioning without belief gives you no measuring stick. Discoveries are not made just by questioning but by basing questions on beginnings. As a teacher, I see more and more children floundering because they have not been brainwashed or simply not taught and hence believe in nothing. . . and nothing rarely leads to something.
(10/18/2013 5:23:18 PM)
One thing not mentioned - especially by those whose comments were longer than the poem itself - is that this young man obviously loves his parents!
(10/18/2013 5:32:07 PM)
Great values; I wish we havae more youth like him and more paents that instill this kind of principle to their children. This world for sure would be a better one.
(10/18/2013 7:03:21 PM)
Thank you
As a proud Jewish college student living amongst secular Jews who don't have as much Jewish knowledge and pride, may I say Kol hakavod. It is so important to understand what being Jewish means.
(10/18/2013 9:03:55 PM)
Taking a stand in a kind way
Well said, it just takes one person to stand up and speak from the heart. Honesty brings respect.
(10/18/2013 9:31:55 PM)
On the right path
Well spoken words of wisdom from the heart. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise." It is sad to think that some (brainwashed) people blame religion for the evils of mankind or think that the absence of God would bring about peace and understanding. Seek wisdom and the Truth!
(10/18/2013 9:33:02 PM)
(10/18/2013 10:09:50 PM)
He's Awesome
I loved his delivery, but also his message: That his parents shared their values...and now he has adopted them as his own. He is choosing.
(10/18/2013 10:47:05 PM)
Congratulations young man
Well said sir!
(10/18/2013 11:01:58 PM)
Thank God for Brainwashing
And thank God for the beautiful brain of this young Jewish man and almost every Jewish person I have ever met. Surely "the scepter shall not pass from Judah" .... Chris, a Mormon brother from Joseph and Ephraim.
(10/18/2013 11:04:13 PM)
In the nearest future
Ethan for President!!!!!!!!!!!
(10/19/2013 1:14:57 AM)
His words and delivery filled me up! I was smiling like a baby by the end. Way to go....
(10/19/2013 2:03:23 AM)
One thing that was not acknowledged here is the fact that the Jewish faith is very rich in history, and it's important to pass on that history to younger generations. The fact that Ethan's parents educated him about his cultural background, which includes religious beliefs, is not brainwashing but rather teaching him about his ancestors and their place in history. The fact that he takes pride in his heritage is to be commended and the respect he has for his upbringing should be an inspiration for all young people. Wonderful poem, Ethan!
(10/19/2013 3:45:21 AM)
Not Religion
All those things are taught by good parents-nothing to do with the Jewish religion. Or any religion. By your thinking all non-Jews are none of that-it is why a lot of countries around Israel have a hard time with them-"That better than you syndrome."
(10/19/2013 6:54:39 AM)
I see a bright future for this young man... Well done, Ethan!
(10/19/2013 9:56:24 AM)
Nicely done
(10/19/2013 10:19:50 AM)
So true
Thank you for being able to express what we have not been able to find the words to.
(10/19/2013 10:35:16 AM)
A bit of ad hominem
There's a point where he doesn't really attack the argument, instead he attacks the one who argues. My parents taught me to be religious and then I left religion and my belief in a god, but I would give credit to the kid when he said my parents brainwashed me into being a great person, and I'm forever thankful they raised me the way they did, accepting of others, to be motivated to be the best I can, and work hard for my goals.
(10/19/2013 10:39:24 AM)
Awesome comments
I so loved Ethan's message in the Poetry Slam! I believe with all my heart this wonderful young man will go far!!!! Great job Ethan Metzger!
(10/19/2013 11:12:29 AM)
well said
if more parents did the same thing maybe this would be a better world. Your parents did a wonderful job of brainwashing.
(10/19/2013 11:45:00 AM)
U can still give your child some space and let them make their own decisions.isnt that more special when someone chooses it without having someone force them to?
(10/19/2013 11:48:33 AM)
a Parent & Grandparent
Our country today is in trouble because the younger generation has no basis or depth for anything. No integrity, ambition or purpose. And this is partially our fault. The older generation has failed to brainwash (teach) values to the young. The preciousness of life has become sometime to toy with. All of us must start to be better people and by example let others become better. Bless this young man and his parents.
(10/19/2013 12:05:27 PM)
Mother, Babysitter & Teacher
Great job! Mature beyond your years.
(10/19/2013 12:08:22 PM)
Who were these judges to not let him advance to the second round? This obviously deserves the win. The thoughtfulness and poetry skills he has I imagine were unmatched in that room.
(10/19/2013 12:09:40 PM)
You brought tears to my eyes! Kudos to you.
(10/19/2013 12:11:29 PM)
responding to #53
I'm LDS and as such have often been told that I'm only blindly following the traditions of my parents in my religious decisions. My confusion with that accusation is that I have always been taught to think and feel for myself and take action based on my own observations, feelings, and conclusions. Those values are even a PART of my religion, which I feel gives me extra tools and resources for discerning how I actually feel, what I actually want, and how to actually implement it. Instead of relying on popular opinion or the movements of the masses, I pay close attention to what is right for me and my soul. My questing into the world has only given me more opportunity to solidify my faith in the core values I was taught as a child.

There are always conflicting voices to listen to, even for what you call "arbitrary constrictions", such as dietary codes and chastity decisions (though I would consider them more essential than arbitrary). Parents should teach their children what they feel is best for their child's health and happiness. Heaven knows the world presents enough conflicting options as soon as the child sets foot outside the door. I have been faced with hard questions and opposing viewpoints from the moment I went to public school. Through it all, I freely choose to believe. Just because someone has conviction doesn't mean they are blind to other options. And just because someone chooses to continue in the way their parents have taught them does not mean that they have been programmed by brainwashing to not see and consider those other options. Maybe it just means that they think their parents had it right.
(10/19/2013 12:12:02 PM)
Culturalization ----] Behavior, Customs, Traditions, Folkways, Taboos
A child is "brainwashed." Is it better to be "conditionied" than not? As person matures he ideally
continually tries to understand himself and utterly complex world. His brainwashers have done some outstanding parentage. The kid that provoked the eloquent explanation is
not "wrong" for the challenge, because that sounds enough like the impertinent adolescent if not cynical old man me..

(10/19/2013 1:12:15 PM)
The father, a doctor, the mother, a nurse. The son announces he is going to med school and that "We had no influence on his decision!" How's that for being subtle?
(10/19/2013 1:50:04 PM)
a son that makes a parent proud.
I am a parent of 3 sons.....your parents are to be commended on raising such a fine son as this boy......I sure hope they keep '"brainwashing" their children...it definitely worked on this son....and guess what - it worked on my 3 sons as well....we are of a different faith but with the same values.
(10/19/2013 1:54:35 PM)
Good without god
Installing great moral values and empathy for your fellow many Does Not Require religion.
Teaching your children to believe (as true) the myths/baggage that come with religion actually does more harm than good.
(10/19/2013 1:58:55 PM)
A Mother and a teacher
That poem was beautiful, gracious, grateful, humble... Thank you.
(10/19/2013 2:19:31 PM)
Nice hat.
(10/19/2013 2:41:29 PM)
My Parents Brainwashed Me
Wonderful to hear and see quality parenthood and children who GET IT Love it Thank you for the FRESH AIR You give me hope that our world is not a foolish and it seems to be. Bless You
(10/19/2013 2:45:29 PM)
Loved it
I am LDS as well, and we get this question all the time. It's possible to be taught by your parents, follow their advice, and then learn it for yourself. My main question is- How did this not advance? It brought tears to my eyes.
(10/19/2013 2:55:19 PM)
We truly need more like Ethan...
It frustrates me that there are those that like to hear themselves talk and try to rip apart religion due to negative personal issues, completely ignoring the incredible young man, Ethan, that has the courage to stand up and defend his parents' role in a most unusual way. Those of you that have "religion" trauma for whatever reason, give praise where praise is due and look for someone/something bigger than yourself to change your life and viewpoint.
(10/19/2013 3:26:24 PM)
So wonderful!
It's so wonderful that you make the connection between moral and ethical values and the Jewish religion. Jewish tradition is a gift that is a blueprint for a life that is value-filled and disciplined in a way that helps people reach their potential and contribute to their society. It sounds like you are well on your way to doing both! Good luck! From Libby in Israel
(10/19/2013 4:43:09 PM)
Some Dude
He didn't address the issue at all. About religion being brainwashing. Just mentioned a bunch of other things that have nothing to do with religion. You can raise your kids to be respectful, kind, good people without brainwashing them into believing superstition. So as feel-good as you religious folks want this to be, it's a complete dodge of the question.
(10/19/2013 4:49:42 PM)
Well said! This is what I called standing for something. Brilliant, well put!
(10/19/2013 5:17:55 PM)
Yasher Koach!!
Strong and powerful words from someone so young. Keep writing, Ethan! Never be afraid to speak your mind. As a Jewish mother of a teenager I am very proud of you. Only by educating the ignorant will we ultimately be able to celebrate the beauty and diversity of all humanity.
(10/19/2013 5:25:05 PM)
Stand up and be counted
Awesome! Good for you to refuse to be intimidated by the so-called "tolerant," "informed," and "educated" who are truly not so tolerant, informed or educated as they think they are.
(10/19/2013 5:55:34 PM)
Think again #53
If the accuser considers Eitan to be "brainwashed", then he should consider his own brain to be "unwashed", namely in a state of confusion, tangled, perhaps even "dirty". Eitan very wisely and maturely answered the accuser with valuable, essential attributes we should strive to live by. The fact that these attributes are contained in the Bible should not be might light of. The accuser would do well to live by them as well. Eitan gave back more than he got from the Acccuser, all in an intelligent and refined manner. The "brainwashing" accusation might have been instigated by Eitan's wearing a skull cap, as sigh of his being a Jew. Eitan did his skull cap proud. His parents deserve the nachas they must be feeling.
(10/19/2013 5:57:08 PM)
If this didn't make it to the second round what did?
Obviously "impact", "insightfulness", and "expressing truth in a way that speaks to the soul" weren't a criteria. I would be stunned if this video doesn't long outlive the competition it was entered in.
(10/19/2013 5:58:36 PM)
Every child should be so lucky!
(10/19/2013 6:23:43 PM)
to #53 re77!
V sad to c that even though ur original comment (the only critical one btw in this whole group which is such a shame s.one had to break the beautiful positive peace for once:/!) Was answered so well by two replies soon after yet u still had to find further arguments. And seem to subsequently have been ignored! Take note the lesson u shld learn if one questions genuinely for the truth and answers ppl will try answer n help but if it simply to question for sake of rebuffing and finding counter arguments to prove ones n feel 'ha that'll show them!" Then you'll never b happy or at peace w yourself. I was taught that firstly the reason we dont have explanations for all the God given commandments in our Holy Code of Law ie Torah is to teach us that sometimes we have to listen to prove we believe n trust Gd w.out knowing y we doing it but knowing if Gd said it must b for our benefit (let me tell u boy am I grateful for keeping kosher especially after the horsemeat scandal in uk n all many virus's etc - that shld b enuf to open ur eyes that Gd knows wat He doing for Our benefit! Secondly there are some explanations given you obviously werent taught or read of them but dont go judging blindly wen its not ultimate truth. Plus we not on spiritual enuf level unf! But im sure in kabbalah great men have learned of further secrets to explain many deep mystical insights that opens ones eyes to Gods amazing gift to us of his instructions as to how we can live our lives with the correct amount of restraint at right times eg as u brought up being frustrated w havin to submit to higher authority w.out understanding y cant hav physical relations weneva want for eg.well in the right setting of beautiful happy n hopefully lasting marriage doesnt it seem safer n more secure for the woman?! U mention evolutioal phsychology! Well isnt that more proof than any out of all religions judaism was first n only truth that Torah directly from God? Being that those thousands of yrs ago ther was no rights for women or voting etc?! Yet ours is only religion that conjugal rights are actually the womans prerogative? Or wer u not even aware of that? Perhaps go learn more b4 start spouting misserroneous nonsensical ideas in public forum;) from s.one who is very much in love w my religion n no I was not brainwashed I was brought up to question yet thankfully received all my answers mostly n am still v happy in my life tG n hope I can bring my kids up as light unto the nations may we merit the coming of moshiach speedily n ultimate redemption n 3rd n final temple for Gods glory to b seen n recognised by whole world He created in His kindess! ;)
(10/19/2013 6:24:46 PM)
He is a true blessing to his parents who as well are a blessing to him. What I don't understand is why he didn't win?
I believe this young man will go far in both his personal and professional life because he will GIVE HIS ALL in whatever he does.
(10/19/2013 6:31:29 PM)
Number 53, The example of Ethan's parents are what taught him and gave him his values. One can speak until silent but ones child will follow the example. I feel certain that Ethan's parents discussed and explained all that they believed, so what reason would he have not to follow. This same sort of life is practiced in all religions. Ethan was correct to say that he was taught.
(10/19/2013 6:48:02 PM)
Mr. Metzger an all class performance and the truth.
(10/19/2013 7:18:22 PM)
My Parents tried to brainwash me..
Beautifully written. Now if only the Parents would read and get the clue. How will our children grow up and be able to speak with freedom that is on their minds. So many parents do not permit this. they think their voice is the truth, but instead they raise their children with blinders on and know nothing of the outside world. They need to find themselves on there own only help when asked parents.
(10/19/2013 7:50:59 PM)
non jew
i want to be jewish, sign me up. great job mom and dad. i had my 11 year old watch, but i think its more of a teaching point for parents,your parent rock!
(10/19/2013 8:18:18 PM)
Good points
Excellent! Love it - it is prose or an essay.
(it is NOT a Poem.)
(10/19/2013 8:35:51 PM)
Michelle Hoffman
I loved it, thanks for sharing.
(10/19/2013 9:09:42 PM)
Great job! I hope my kids remember every day the brainwashing I gave them while they were growing up.
(10/19/2013 9:27:27 PM)
That was really amazing to read. It didn't hurt to read what you wrote. -_-
(10/19/2013 10:19:20 PM)
All chikdren need to hear these words
OUTSTANDING!!! A great tribute to his parents.
(10/19/2013 10:32:00 PM)
absolutely amazing!!! many can learn from you!! may you continue to make you parents proud!!
(10/19/2013 10:39:50 PM)
More youth need parents like his, more parents need to hear this and understand what their youth need!

Great JOB!
(10/19/2013 11:38:26 PM)
Loved it!
You know, my parents brainwashed me, too. My brain is so clean, my soul is transparent. I wish more parents brainwashed their children to teach them to lead clean, productive, kind, supportive lives that will benefit all those with whom they come in contact. I am pleased to see that this young man's parents are making a positive impact through him on the future.
(10/20/2013 12:03:42 AM)
You are blessed
You are blessed to have the parents you have and they are blessed to have you as their son. They, by their teaching and by their example have instilled in you integrity, honesty and understanding. Keep learning and using your gifts wisely. Excellent job of expression!
(10/20/2013 12:43:35 AM)
So good!
(10/20/2013 12:43:56 AM)
Terrific.. Great parents.. and a great Kid
(10/20/2013 1:05:57 AM)
Thank you!
Absolutely beautiful. Blessings to you and your family.
(10/20/2013 1:30:28 AM)
(10/20/2013 1:37:52 AM)
A teen with wisdom!
I have always noticed that anyone who claims to have an open mind, when they want to conversate about religion, always act accepting of other people's beliefs and religion in general, but when they are truly responded to with good logic and sound understanding their true colors come out.

Second, why do people who believe that we came from something other than God think that we can relate to their viewpoint. Yes, we can understand where you come from and even learn about it in our schooling, but here is news to those people: 'WE BELIEVE GOD CREATED US!" I believe that science is good, but professor's and teachers tend to teach certain things as if they are factual when they are still theories. Point out all you want about evidence that we came from lower life forms, but that doesn't mean that God doesn't use the same system to build all of his living creatures. I am truly saying this while trying not to sound like I am trying to stir things up. I just want people to understand that you can't understand faith by reading about it, but it is understood by those who have it. This young man has come into an understanding that many don't gain in an entire lifetime! Wisdom is a gift and I appreciate the positive messages!
(10/20/2013 1:49:26 AM)
All I can say is: Great, Great, Great!!! =). I'm Proud of you Ethan Metzger
Well said son, =). May "THE ETERNAL FATHER OF THE UNIVERSE" Continue HIS Blessings of Wisdom upon You Today and Always!!!! I will remind you what THE THE ETERNAL FATHER said to Joshua. Joshua 1: 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be dismayed, for THE LORD your G-D is with you wherever you go. =). Always remember the teachings of you Parents and put them in to practice and be proud to do so. Shalom!!!!! =).
(10/20/2013 3:52:29 AM)
(10/20/2013 3:55:52 AM)
Love it!
It is so good to see people stand up for what they believe in! What a creative way to share his experience & beliefs. Great Job!

I'm not Jewish. I'm a member of The Church of of Latter-day Saints (aka LDS, Mormons, ...Brainwashed). We believe that we are another branch of the house of Israel & share many of the same beliefs with the Jewish religion. (I've always wondered what Jews think about that.)

In my religion, we are strongly encouraged to question our beliefs & find out for ourselves whether it is true. From what I know about Jews, I believe that they also encourage questions as part of the study of their faith.

I am not sure why some people find it hard to believe that I can examine what I have been taught, and then freely choose to agree with it.
(10/20/2013 4:33:54 AM)
lovin it
this is amazing. love it. proud jew
(10/20/2013 5:27:41 AM)
There is someone I know who is slow to commend, but quick to condescend, who is reluctant to lend a hand, but ready to point and laugh at those who need one. One day I was in school, in class, explaining my Judaism when this person has the audacity to ask me to explain, “You know, you’re only Jewish because your parents forced you to be. I mean, it’s all fake. You don’t pray to God because you want to. You only pray to God because your parents made you think you have to. You don’t keep any of the laws by your own free will. Your parents just made you feel guilty if you didn’t keep them.”

My classmates smirked.

“Your parents brainwashed you your whole life to make you think you were doing God’s Work, but they were just imposing restriction upon restriction. You don’t have any real conviction of your own. You don’t really know anything about anything.”

A silence swept over the classroom. I could sense all my friends looking at me as to how I would react. I felt like this peer went after me, and more importantly, my parents.

“Excuse me,” I thought, “my parents brainwashed me?”

I had to think of a response, but the more I thought the more I realized that this student actually had a very valid argument.

I thought to myself, “You’re absolutely right. My parents did brainwash me. From the time I entered this world my parents brainwashed me. As early as I can remember my parents were brainwashing me to have respect for other people, for their belongings, for myself. Since I was little they corrupted me into thinking that I should treat everyone else the way I would want to be treated, no matter what. My parents programmed me into believing that I should stand up for a person being picked on, that I shouldn’t be a bystander if I could stop it all from taking place. My parents brainwashed me?!”

“Yeah, my father twisted my infant brain in such a horrific way that he made me value my integrity, and to make matters even worse, he led by example. And my mom incessantly told me as a child, again and again and again, to just do the best you can. That idea has become so ingrained in my mind that I don’t define success as whether I get an “A” or that I gave it my all. My parents perverted my way of thinking causing me to believe that I need to be accepting of other people and their beliefs. They contaminated my childhood with mottos and maxims and lessons about love and faith and character and yes, religion too. And I’m sorry for you that your parents didn’t infect your DNA with any of these ideals.”

But, I didn’t say any of that because my parents also polluted my conscience to believe that I shouldn’t judge someone until I walked a mile in their shoes, which makes me think that God must run millions of marathons each day. And quite frankly, I don’t have to stand for that.

But here’s what I did say, “You can call it “brainwashing” it you want. That’s fine. I call it “teacher.”
(10/20/2013 6:38:21 AM)
Very refreshing
I am a mormon and I am very proud of this young man to have the courage to dare to be alone and to explain himself in this manner.....Just beautiful......if all of us were taught by our parents to be like that wht a better place this world would be.
This is one of the reason why we do missionary work. I can tell you that there are also about 70,0000 young missionaries of our faith out in the world who feel just like this young man and are sharing our belief with others.
(10/20/2013 7:49:04 AM)
It's an honor!
Listening to your poem tells me that there is still hope in the family and the children. Thank you for sharing young man. You are an incredible brainwashed person. Your parents did extremely well. You are a product of what families need to do everyday to help our world be a better place.
(10/20/2013 7:52:33 AM)
Awesome job!
I got brainwashed to.....and hopefully, I've brainwashed my children and their children the same way.
(10/20/2013 8:21:26 AM)
Standing up for what you believe
This kid can stand on his own two feet regardless of what everyone says or does. He's go far!
(10/20/2013 9:29:57 AM)
a moms point of view.
How proud your parents must be. Lets brainwash the rest of society.
(10/20/2013 9:56:14 AM)
But he didn't say anything about why he has to be Jew to be all of those good things.
(10/20/2013 10:26:12 AM)
What awesome parents, they must be bursting with pride, as they should be.
(10/20/2013 10:39:09 AM)
Truly a Kiddush Hashem. Thanks Ethan.
(10/20/2013 11:04:57 AM)
not the point
People arguing that he could be all these 'good' things without being Jewish... that is not the point he was answering! He was simply saying that his parents, following the guidelines of Torah and Jewish tradition, taught him well in all areas of behavior. You can label that brainwashing, but he calls it teaching. In that family, in that case, it happened to be the values of Yiddishkeit. The prayer, the rituals, are all part of the same teaching process that made him such a 'mentch' in every other man-to-man area, because a Torah life is overwhelmingly good and positive.
(10/20/2013 11:50:37 AM)
America needs more parents like you!
Great job Ethan Metzger, and stellar example of raising a child Mr & Mrs Metzger.
(10/20/2013 12:48:20 PM)
So it's okay to brainwash your kids?
So a peer enlightens this fellow that his religion is a farce and this kid latches on to one tangential statement that involved his parents and everyone applauds?

His upbringing by his parents as a whole was not the discussion, just their inclusion of religion. It's like saying "Hey your hat look's really goofy. Did your parents make you wear that?" and responding "Hey, they paid for this great pair of shoes, and this underwear.. so back off the sparkly feather hat okay!"

Everyone who watched this and feels vindication.... you are what's wrong with mankind as a whole today. We desperately need free thinking, logical, rational people in the world, not more believers in mythical explanations of the world.

While this is a great . "Hurray for Our Team" video about feeling good about our upbringing, I think the point still stands that millions of people on Earth believe in a super natural being that created us. There is no evidence to suggest that.

Mankind needs to outgrow the ridiculous belief that religion is necessary in order for us to be good to each other. In fact, we would be more impressive if we did things, not because of the dictates written in old, book of fables or due to the threat of eternally burning in Hell, but rather, we should do what is good, simply because we are good.

Religion exists to keep poor people from killing rich people. It exists because the ignorant and the greedy need a reason to be good.

So , clap and feel good about this response to a debate about religion from the comments made by intellectual peer... but know that we are slowly slipping off the reins of religion. Taliban, Tea Party, etc be warned.
(10/20/2013 1:10:04 PM)
I hope my kids think the same way about us..
I hope and pray my kids feel the same way some day...
(10/20/2013 1:12:30 PM)
To #180
Right on, very we'll put!
(10/20/2013 1:21:01 PM)
Response to 53 + others
The Beetles said it best: Whatever gets you to the light is all right.
(10/20/2013 2:32:05 PM)
I agree with every word, but people don't want to hear or read that here.
(10/20/2013 2:42:52 PM)
God bless him and his good parents.
It would be a much better world for everyone if all parents were like that-- to "brainwash" -- to really teach their children right and wrong.
(10/20/2013 2:59:42 PM)
tears and cheers for this young man!
Thank you for such an inspiring and tell it like it is writing! Can't wait to share on my page and my 23 year old! Bless you! Now let me wipe off all the tears!
(10/20/2013 3:35:57 PM)
Religion is portrayed unfairly in "modern" thinking
As yet another LDS member, I think it's interesting that so many of us relate to this eloquent rebuttal from a Jewish viewpoint - we are similar in many ways.
As secular theology teaches that values are separate from faith (see comment #196) I believe that religion, done correctly, actually provides the reasoning and motivation to follow proper values. These values are an intrinsic part of religion because our faith provides us a vision of who we can and ought to become, which influences our values and actions.

Cases of hypocrisy aside, the good that is done by those who have a moral compass supplied by religion far outweighs those who have a void of religion in their lives. And we can do so much more good when we unite with those who have the same values (in a church, for example).

Lastly, I believe that the nonbeliever's claim that religion lacks evidence and is therefore worthless, is faulty. The evidence for my faith comes not from physical sources but from the personal experiences I've had with prayer. The spiritual interactions I've had are undeniable, but have only come because I was open to feeling them.
Like what #180 said:
"I just want people to understand that you can't understand faith by reading about it, but it is understood by those who have it."
(10/20/2013 3:47:28 PM)
Great reply to an accusation
The accusatory student was poorly attempting to show the student poet that the 'idea' of god is merely an idea that the poet student would not have if not for the parents. The accusatory student was doing this improperly and with disrespect.

Instilling morals, values and respect for others can be done without 'god' and without religion. Morals that we know of today did not originate from religion, many texts and philosophers created moral basis and in most cases these morals/values were far more progressive and respectful than religious values/morals.

The principle being addressed is just that, recognizing that 'god' and religion are not necessary to be a good person (relative to society) and morals/values can be instilled with other writers, philosophers and teachers/parents. There is a separation of god and morals/values.
(10/20/2013 4:38:27 PM)
at #196
No one is good, what one person calls good another does not. By your thinking, If our person thinks its good to kill people who are we to stop them? The only way we can ever say what is good or not is by holding it up to the only true standard of good - God.
He also wrote down how to live up to His standard of good, this has shaped our society from the beginning and the laws of this country are based on that same standard.
God is not outdated and the more people 'slip' away from religion the worse society has become as the standard of good has fallen. I pray that we get some godly leaders again so we rise to the real meaning of good once again.
(10/20/2013 4:39:14 PM)
Thank you.
This gives me confidence~ Thanks for this wonderful poem.
(10/20/2013 5:06:28 PM)
my opinion
Great poem. Some parts are spoken so fast I can't understand every word. WORST closed captioning I have ever seen!
(10/20/2013 5:50:48 PM)
Appreciate your courage, your delivery, and your well-founded arguments. We are all products of our upbringing, and influenced by that as well in our religious, or lack of obviously religious beliefs (i.e. belief in atheism). Those value we hold dear in North American society - including the freedom to choose or change one's religion (which Ethan will have ample opportunity to do over his lifetime) - are founded in the Judeo-Christian heritage we've enjoyed for centuries.
(10/20/2013 5:56:08 PM)
Nice text, nice ideas, nice delivery, but....
is this really a poem? Methinks not...
(10/20/2013 6:21:35 PM)
"God is not outdated and the more people 'slip' away from religion the worse society has become as the standard of good has fallen."

So are you telling me things were much better back then? Where there is light, there must be shadow, where there is shadow there must be light. There is no shadow without light and no light without shadow.... This is, in a sense, something that surpasses our understanding and our definitions. We have lived with them since long, long ago-- from a time before good and evil even existed, when people's minds were still benighted.
(10/20/2013 7:22:00 PM)
non-sequitur and red herring fallacy
His response had nothing to do with the brain washing he got about his religion. If he had been born a Muslim, he would be spouting on about Islam.
(10/20/2013 7:23:32 PM)
Wait til you're older kid.
I applaud your optimism, but give it a few years, kid.
(10/20/2013 7:47:36 PM)
Excellent !!!
(10/20/2013 7:53:28 PM)
Parent and grandparent
All "brainwashing" has paid off...what a wonderful testimony of all the teaching poured into this young man!! I'd be a very proud parent. We are to train up a child in the way he should go!
(10/20/2013 8:14:17 PM)
Jump to conclusions and totally miss the punch line
Did anybody read the transcript (THANKS #185!) The bottom line message is that he would NOT JUDGE his accuser. Instead he acknowledged his accuser's view and without accusation stated his view. We are left to think what we will. No brainwashing here. The majority of the content was about the young man grappling with his thoughts, but his actions (his actual response) is what makes this a valuable lesson for all to emulate! Go back and read the transcript...we make judgments before hearing (reading) the whole story.
(10/20/2013 8:38:37 PM)
"My Parents Brainwashed Me"
Thank goodness for parents and their monents of
brainwashing", aka "LOVE",
(10/20/2013 8:58:40 PM)
HOW did he not make it too the second round?
(10/20/2013 9:40:16 PM)
Amazing and very impressed.
His poem needs to be published, I could have this with me all the time. Thank you.
(10/20/2013 10:58:56 PM)
I love the Brainwashing comments. I hope I did do such a good job on my kids. I think we did , they are middleaged. hardworking and respectful citizens, I believe we did somethings RIGHT!!!
(10/20/2013 11:02:10 PM)
Lovely and relieved to hear a young man be a real man.
And this is what I call being well grown up to understand what love for your parents mean.
(10/20/2013 11:26:58 PM)
well done
You've made your parents proud I only hope I've done as well as a Mother
(10/21/2013 12:28:43 AM)
really proud
When we teach our babies to stay out of the street, no one calls that brain washing, but when we teach them to pray, that's brainwashing. When we teach them not to steal, no one calls that brain washing, but when we teach them the other commandments of the Torah that's nrainwashing?
Why the double standard?
Ethan did a wonderful job explainging this concept. I'm so proud of him and his "brainwashing" parents.
(10/21/2013 2:00:10 AM)
My Parents Brain Washed Me
In short: I want a copy of this. Anyway of having him send it out? It says a lot.
(10/21/2013 2:11:03 AM)
toooooo good!!!
(10/21/2013 2:30:18 AM)
Hope my son will be able to say the same
(10/21/2013 2:34:19 AM)
For those who claim religion is wrong
This is particularly for those such as the writers of comments #196 and #54.
Look around you. How do you see the world? The world, in every region, is definitely growing further and further away from the religious roots most countries and families were founded on and what are the results? Our governments and classes have never been more divided. Hate is more prevalent. Anger, animosity, murder, adultery and selfishness are all more common than ever before in the history of world. The world is worse than it has ever been in many of these aspects. And these are the products of your ideas of "free thinking". Perhaps you haven't thought of this: Just because you follow what your parents taught doesn't mean that you not acting independently.
This is the main problem of today. People think that in order to be independent and free thinkers, they must argue, disagree and disobey "traditional" and parental principles that they were taught. Your ideas of "don't teach the children anything until they are old enough to decide for themselves" are the very causes of the evil that is rampant in the world today. If you teach a child nothing, he or she will know nothing. If you teach a child goodness, he or she will know goodness. If you teach a child what is good and right and to seek for truth, he or she will follow that. You can think independently and still agree with your parents. You can think freely and still conform to the values, principles and doctrines that you are taught in Sunday School. The idea of thinking independently is to take those ideas that are instilled in you as a child and to decide for yourself that you will live them with your own conviction and determination. Do you think God wants a bunch of blindly obedient idiots who only follow His teachings because they don't know anything else or because they are afraid to choose something else? Of course not! God has repeatedly told us through scripture and his prophets to be wise and thoughtful and busy doing good things. He wants us to think for ourselves and decide for ourselves to follow and love Him as He desires! Love is what God asks of us and true love is never coerced. He as given us our agency for that very purpose. If you want the world to be a better place, love and teach a child who God is, for God is the author of ALL light, wisdom, knowledge and especially love. It is His spirit that abides in us when we do good to others. It is His love that shines through us when we put the needs of others before our own. You are free to teach your children what you will, but I will teach mine to love the Lord their God with all their heart, might, mind and soul and to do so with all of their own personal conviction just as my parents taught me. Thank you Ethan.
(10/21/2013 4:09:54 AM)
Mormon Boy
Oh yeah, I can relate!
(10/21/2013 4:10:29 AM)
Congrats to him and his family
though I do not live by your religion, I do agree that it and some other religions do bring on strong morals. The most important thing here is that these parents brought up and wonderful and good young man who is appreciative for what they have done. I am sure it goes further than his religion but either way, if one can bring up such a good person in this age, they congrats to to them and the youth. Well done young man, well done. I wish there were more of you with such high morals in this world at your age. God Bless and may others in a religion or not follow your good moralistic ways.
(10/21/2013 4:11:59 AM)
Awesome! eloquent and truth to the masses!!

very well done!!
(10/21/2013 7:28:05 AM)
Thank you!
Blessings to you and your parents - they taught and you listened. You give me hope for the younger generation.
(10/21/2013 8:03:24 AM)
If that were my son...
I would be bursting with pride right now! What a terrific young man they "brainwashed!"
(10/21/2013 8:50:34 AM)
everyone should be "brainwashed" in this way...what an impressive young man with amazing parents!!!!
(10/21/2013 9:47:19 AM)
Wow! wonderful! That's what is wrong with our society as it stands today - not enough children are "brainwashed" by their parents. I love what he said about his father- showing him by example and his mother telling him to do the best he could.
(10/21/2013 10:47:24 AM)
Amazing-Great Job!
Awesome, Very well done!
(10/21/2013 10:54:11 AM)
Proud of You
Most people have graduated from college and started families before they figure out what you have. The older I get the smarter my parents get.
(10/21/2013 11:19:58 AM)
Do you know if this is apart of God's plan? The world is not worst than it was back in those days. And I really don't get your feel good ranting, because I never said anything about free thinkers. This is my last comment.
(10/21/2013 11:26:41 AM)
You the man!
Ethan, you're the man! Great courage, great wit, great insight. Way to go, Mom & Dad! What a son you've raised.
(10/21/2013 11:30:31 AM)
Laramie Jane
No words can express how I felt when I heard this young man. APPLAUD, APPLAUD, APPLAUD.
(10/21/2013 11:43:07 AM)
Congrats to Ethan and his parents for imparting values that all our children should emulate! I would give him 1st place :)
(10/21/2013 12:00:20 PM)
Great Job!
Beautifully stated. Your parents must be glowing with pride.
(10/21/2013 12:00:41 PM)
Thank you!
You have stood up for values and goodness! Thank you for having the courage to be a good example!
(10/21/2013 12:02:07 PM)
You have awesome parents!
If I had the power of words that Ethan has, I would have said the same thing. In the absence of such power - I will simply say, "Thank you, Ethan."
(10/21/2013 1:12:19 PM)
Except that.......
Except that everything he mentions has NOTHING to do with religious worship and everything to do with secular humanism. Congrats to him realizing he is a Secular Humanist. Treating people with kindness and hard work and ethics is not the exclusive domain of religion. Far from it.
(10/21/2013 1:14:58 PM)
Absolutely amazing, gives me faith in youth.......
Obama could have used a set of parents like this young man had. Then we could really be wowed by our president.
(10/21/2013 1:16:38 PM)
To the parents of Ethan Metzger
Mazel Tov. You have achieved success! May all our children be as wise as your son.
I wonder why Ethan did not advance to the winners circle since his values could not be more prized.
(10/21/2013 1:29:18 PM)
To Ethan and his Parents
Well Done! Spoken truthfully and with integrity.
(10/21/2013 1:54:41 PM)
I love this! Wonderful boy. Hope my kids grow up to understand everything I do for them I do out of love and to grow their mind. :)
(10/21/2013 2:23:31 PM)
Words to live and grow
High Five to him and his parents
(10/21/2013 3:45:29 PM)
Shining example
Thank you, Ethan, for reminding me that there are not only good people in this world, but great people. You and your parents are to be congratulated. You will go far!
(10/21/2013 4:23:23 PM)
Way to go!
Ethan, God bless you for your courage! You are an inspiration!
(10/21/2013 4:32:19 PM)
How proud his parents must be of him!
(10/21/2013 4:57:46 PM)
totally awesome!!!
(10/21/2013 5:11:39 PM)
Thanks be to God ....for that example. We would wish that for every child.
(10/21/2013 5:53:28 PM)
An amazing and talented and honorable young man...Ethan
Ethan, you are simply remarkable! What a joy to behold a young man who honors those parents who imbued him with the values and honor that make you so unique and kind.
(10/21/2013 6:01:27 PM)
Very sad, but understandable
I can agree that for someone his age it's not a bad response. But, to distort cultural education with religious, both of which don't need to be different ethnically but for the purposes first outlined are indeed separate and only conflated in appealing to culture. Our cultural values are widespread and don't belong to your religion. Indeed it is our culture that changes your religion, or cultures that have. In the U.S. today, it is happens everyday. We are going from religions that are anti gay to "all loving" as they have been preaching all along. The student was right. You are brainwashed, and appealing to negatively connoting verbs ironically while stylistically interesting only further obfuscates the issue.
It is "poetry" which, in folk activities like this is often a make shift term for "I have a voice" and can include arts as far away as music to mere informal religious rebuttals of the type.
If he had read his "apology for religion" in another culture no one would have said anything but thought of him as just that, utterly brainwashed. No one would be saying, "yeah man, right on, you tell 'em!"
Rather, just go to Youtube.
(10/21/2013 6:14:52 PM)
Be present in this world...
Wonderfully spoken Ethan... it is men like you who, through the power of G-d, will do His will, move His people toward Him, mold future generations and perhaps bring some to the fold who want to have a peace that passes all understanding. Shalom!
(10/21/2013 7:42:01 PM)
Is rather be brain washed by Jewish values
Than by secular hedonism Millie... Bchinas Saaros
(10/21/2013 7:44:57 PM)
Eye Roll
It is not brainwashing per se, but it IS indoctrination, and we are ALL indoctrinated. But that is not good or bad...what matters is exactly what we are indoctrinated with. Some maxims are good, others are not. I would count religion in the not, for the most part.
(10/21/2013 8:03:24 PM)
in response to #57
You obviously are well-read. Have you heard of Timothy Keller and/or read his bestselling book, "The Reason for God"? I think you would enjoy it, whether you agree with it or not, for it adresses some of the theories you posted about. You may already have heard many of his arguments and positions, but I thought I'd mention it.
(10/21/2013 9:09:45 PM)
Amazingly delivered measure of wisdom...
...from an amazingly gifted young man with a solid foundation of truth tempered with compassionate purpose. Speak on, young man. Speak on.
(10/21/2013 9:20:04 PM)
Thank you
Thank you for learning from their teachings. Thank you for living with integrity and faith. My family also teaches, learns, lives by love and faith. God bless!
(10/21/2013 9:30:46 PM)
Well done, Ethan.
To hear you speak your mind with such clarity was a joy by itself. I'd love to be around see and hear your children. You are a treasure.
(10/21/2013 9:36:37 PM)
(10/21/2013 10:02:37 PM)
It all starts from day one! I was taught that "when GOD is
With you who can be against you". Religion is always always
In my house. My family always asks for a blessing when leaving the house or at the end of the day. I pray they will
Carry on .... God bless Ethan and God bless your family - I
Say keep on w/the brainwashing! Amen
(10/21/2013 11:06:16 PM)
Buy a copy
Please let me know where I can buy a copy to frame and hang for all who enter my house to see. Phenomenal.
(10/22/2013 3:37:09 AM)
Very Talented young man!
another MORMON here. :)
We all get brainwashed as children. Luckily your parents indoctrinated you with good morals. Mine did the same.
But... mine also told me since I was able to talk that there are magic rocks that translate gold books. It took me many years to figure out how brainwashed we Mormons are into believing such nonsense.
Good thing this young man has a good head on his shoulders. Would love to see him after he gets older and more education.

(10/22/2013 5:02:44 AM)
(10/22/2013 7:43:08 AM)
Sweet spirited Young Man
Enjoyed this. I like to to see people who find ways to express their God given talent and creativity. Poetry is such a venue, as is music or art or sports, or whatever excites our inner Spirit. I like also that he gave credit to his parents for setting the example--as ALL parents SHOULD--but so FEW do!!! Nice job. I, too, would like to see him later in life.
(10/22/2013 9:16:16 AM)
Being Jewish is a gift! It means that you are God's elect! Now who wouldn't wanna be that?!
(10/22/2013 9:41:10 AM)
Jewish Food laws
I am not Jewish however to the critical free thinker ...you may wwant to do a personal study on unclean meats in Leviticus 11 and Duet. 14. Enhance that study with scientific and medical research on the health risks of eating scavenger and waste cleaning animals to learn that the parasites never completely leave cooked pork and nasty bottom feeding aqautic life. Its like eating a cooked toilet brush and saying the heat killed the germs. Jewish food laws are healthy. Even your atheist dr wil take you off pork for high blood pressure etc. Jews cant backup their food laws? Umm...since when?
(10/22/2013 9:51:56 AM)
What a wonderful young man. His parents brainwashed him well. This is the kind of young man that our society is soooo lacking these days.
(10/22/2013 10:24:20 AM)
Good parenting produces beautiful young man. Great example!
Ethan Metzger is blessed to have parents who followed through on their Biblical responsibility to teach him. Proverbs 22:6 (NASB) says, "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it." He proves that point. I loved his poetry. What a blessing!
(10/22/2013 10:28:17 AM)
Your awesome
(10/22/2013 10:47:41 AM)
Parents + Poem + Passion = PERFECT!
Raised as a Catholic by a Catholic mom & an agreeable Episcopalian dad, I got the same lessons; I can only pray that I've passed along the SAME messages to my kids.
Thank you for articulating these truths so eloquently!
(10/22/2013 11:40:26 AM)
You said it right......from a pentecostal grandmother.
(10/22/2013 11:44:30 AM)
Uuuuuummmmm but....
My parents taught me all that too, but didn't require belief in the extra terrestrial to make it sink in. You can learn the stories without actually believing them to be true. Let alone the 'word of God'. Do we have to believe that Cinderella is REAL in order to get the point of the story? You're brainwashed kid, your friend was right. Sorry folks, someone has to say it.
(10/22/2013 11:44:50 AM)
Respect for others IS The basics... The rest is commentary
Rabbi akiva
The Baal shemtov
And many many other sages all summed up the entire Torah by the Golden rule,
For all the mitzvah are calibrated to draw down the greatest good and blessings for ones self and for those around him and her.
(10/22/2013 12:06:14 PM)
I was also brainwashed aka Taught
Glad my orthodox parents did not stick me in front of a TV and allow Hollywood to do my brainwashing...

95% of secular kids are saturated aka brainwashed by TV/Movies/Hollywood/Disney
(10/22/2013 12:11:52 PM)
Train up a child
(10/22/2013 12:20:47 PM)
Brainwashed to believe in good. Wow what a concept.
When Eathen spoke of his parents brainwashing I saw a lot of love coming from him. A lot of respect came along with the love. His love for his parents, GOD and mankind was just so refreshing.
(10/22/2013 12:43:42 PM)
I feel sorry...
I feel sorry for those of you that think instilling 'faith and belief' in our children is a bad thing. What they do with that information is a testament to their own free will. No brainwashing here...
(10/22/2013 1:02:04 PM)
Wow! Lucky parents!!!
(10/22/2013 1:04:20 PM)
just wow
(10/22/2013 1:24:51 PM)
We are all brainwashed!
Public school brainwashes kids to believe secular humanism. We are all brainwashed by someone or something. The question is: who has the truth?
"For this reason I was born, for this reason I came into the world, to testify to the truth"
(10/22/2013 1:31:50 PM)
Why didn't he win???
(10/22/2013 1:42:15 PM)
If more parents would take the time to" teach"
If more parents would take the time to "teach" instead of letting the current "media" brainwash their kids we would live in a more civilized world.
(10/22/2013 2:18:44 PM)
Wonderful parents "brainwashed him" with The values we all need to strive for.
(10/22/2013 2:28:03 PM)
And he DIDN'T advance in this contest because.....
(10/22/2013 2:44:29 PM)
love it.
(10/22/2013 2:48:58 PM)
Hang On
Hang on to that poem. Let it sink deep into your soul because you're going to need it when you face the liberal professors in college.
(10/22/2013 2:59:31 PM)
And you know this how?
(10/22/2013 3:28:13 PM)
tall tales
so by that definition hindu, moslem, christian, buddhist, mormon, scientology, etc. kids aren't brainwashed either. but which one is right?

there's no need to resort to tall tales and mutilations to teach children to be morally upright. just teach them to be morally upright. it works.
(10/22/2013 3:57:03 PM)
Evangelical grandma
Ethan you make the scriptures come alive by honoring your parents. They have brought you up and taught you we'll and, as promised as you age you will not turn away from it. May God bless you and yours.
(10/22/2013 4:10:06 PM)
Generation to generation
Some of the greatest gifts ever given are from generation to generation. This teenager gave the gift of tears to a 68 year old.
(10/22/2013 4:35:22 PM)
kathy and old
I've read some of these comments... and I can see that many of you don't know yet that you don't know....I don't care the religion of this young man, his parents, and he have done a Godly job of forming their objectivity and loving conviction of right and wrong no matter where you practice your belief... bravo to those parents and their son, well done, thou god and faithful servants.!!!!
(10/22/2013 5:45:57 PM)
true biblical valuesrequires allot of washing and cleansing
From the pervasive secular ideas from secular Hollywood
(10/22/2013 6:25:58 PM)
at 278
Me too
(10/22/2013 6:29:49 PM)
ranting contest winner
poem??? sounds like a ranting angry speech
(10/22/2013 6:42:42 PM)
Yasher Koach
Kol hakovd to Ethan and to his parents! So great to see poetry in my old branch. Ethan, you clearly won and I am proud of you.
(10/22/2013 7:01:14 PM)
278 is unfortunately correct
Google the statistics of the average American child's daily ;yes daily) consumption of and exposure to TV, psp, Hollywood produced movies, Facebook etc
(10/22/2013 7:28:58 PM)
Keep it up!
I only hope, as a parent, that I am brain washing my kiddo in the same way. Love this spoken word.
(10/22/2013 9:08:15 PM)
I hope he never looses it.
Superb! Now there is a young man who thinks for himself. I know a couple of men who are like that, too. Mom
(10/22/2013 9:51:57 PM)
I want more youngsters like this.
He is a man, one of the best! Bless him and bless his parents parenting skills and the love with which they raised him to be a credit to them and to God.
(10/22/2013 10:03:39 PM)
this kid!!!!
(10/22/2013 10:06:33 PM)
Truth always prevails
Good job, love the "musical" lyrics! The moral majority hears conviction in beliefs, love of God and mankind, and passion and adrenaline in standing for something. Bitter and angry are the hearts and words of those who lack parental love and teaching of which he speaks, choosing instead to call an articulate stance, an "angry tirade". Ironic the bullies shouting for "equal rights and open minds" are the most intolerant of others' choices and beliefs. (Example: opponents of Prop.8 in CA "blamed" one religion for it's defeat, while the losers blocked and defaced sacred edifices while shouting hate slogans). Hmmm.
(10/22/2013 11:48:40 PM)
Youth has a voice
Thank God for this amazing young man who stood up for truth and his convictions. Well said!
(10/23/2013 12:34:06 AM)
I never knew that col is a fourm for the Mormon evangelicals
(10/23/2013 12:39:07 AM)
Thank you
To 266- As a member of the LDS church, how can you claim to be Mormon and make such comments about what we believe?
BUT I loved this, I love it when anyone from any faith show moral strength and integrity. Life isn't easy and if faith in God helps people with their lives and their ability to get through hard times, why do we need to bring people down? I have always been taught and try to live in a way that I learn about people and reserve judgment until I know more about them and their motivations. My parents did a fantastic job of 'brainwashing' me and I thank them often because of it. So thank you Ethan, and your parents for showing the world your conviction.
(10/23/2013 12:43:10 AM)
God is the source of good and moral teaching.
All that is good or moral came from God in the begining. To say you can separate moral from God shows a lack of knowledge of human history. God made man and taught him moral behavior.
(10/23/2013 1:45:27 AM)
Good Parents Wash a lot of stuff
Great poem! Great presence! Great delivery!

Just remember good parents are constantly washing stuff for their kids in the first few years its a lot of ...clothes, faces, cuts, scrapes and yes even tushies... sometimes a little brain just gets near the soap.

Great Work Ethan
(10/23/2013 2:24:50 AM)
Brainwashing....is seen mostly as negative. Positive brainwashing is seen as teaching good values....
Thank God for being in our heart as a moral compass and may he continue to bless you and your family. Wonderful work may God inspire you even more
(10/23/2013 4:49:47 AM)
What are you trying to say?
I just hope you are not insinuating that because we do not believe in any fairy tale religion that we are not capable of teaching our children moral values and work ethic? That would be insulting, condescending, preposterous and immoral. Another thing your parents should have taught you is that all things are possible without a god, thank you.
(10/23/2013 5:37:05 AM)
I think many people here are confused. There is a huge difference between brainwashing and influencing. If we are good parents we will all be guilty of influencing our children thro our actions and our teachings, it is inevitable. The argument is whether or not we can bring up our children to be good, productive citizens of our community only through religion . If you believe, as many religious people do, that goodness and moral values can only be obtained through religion then one can understand why religious people find the need to inculcate their religious beliefs on their offspring. It's pretty normal. However, the downside to this belief is that if you have no religion you are some how lacking in morals. I opened my eyes to the world some years ago , having been raised in a Christian household . I now understand that human nature is far more complex and religion, although it has it's place , needs to be treated with a degree of scepticism in this modern day.
(10/23/2013 7:11:54 AM)
For a modern age. Proud of you.
(10/23/2013 7:22:06 AM)
As a parent...I pray I've "brainwashed" my girls as well as your Parents brainwashed you Ethan. Thank you and God Bless you and your family!
(10/23/2013 10:30:26 AM)
Well done!
I'm glad you have so much support and confidence. Keep on keep in' on. ") cjc
(10/23/2013 10:50:47 AM)
Oh that EVERY child in this world would be brainwashed in this way....to honor, respect, uphold the right, support the wounded and bullied, to even respect those who 'accuse' you of being brainwashed...what is brainwashing? It is WASHING the BRAIN.....and this young man with GOOD washings! Keep it up, mom and dad....and offspring-brainwash your children with GOOD! I'd rather see the youth of today have their brains filled with GOOD than to see all that I see of these 'killing games and videos filling their poor innocent minds with hatred and rage....and the sick music and drugs that are tearing our families apart....
(10/23/2013 11:41:02 AM)
Universal Humanistic Values
I thought t it was noteworthy that this young man;s poem cites specific values that his parents have taught or imbued in him, without specifically addressing the religious issue that his classmate raised. It's possible to raise our children with all of the positive human and spiritual values that he mentions without requiring specific religious belief or practice of them.
(10/23/2013 12:19:04 PM)
Also LDS, Following Ethan's Awesome Example
So, #266, you have motivated me to also stand up and be counted for what I believe.

As Ethan experienced, it takes no talent, knowledge, wisdom, or character to be critical, demeaning, condescending, or offensive regarding someone else’s beliefs and values…and almost anything can be described in a way to make it sound ridiculous to believe, especially to those who are unfamiliar with it.

I am grateful for Ethan’s strong example of not just being Jewish by birth or on paper, but Jewish in his beliefs and in his heart…there is a very significant and observable difference. Thank you Ethan!!!

Like Ethan, and like Nephi & Enos in the Book of Mormon, I too was blessed with “goodly parents…who taught me in the nature and admonition of the Lord.” And like Enos, I feel to add, “and blessed be the name of my God for it.” Like Enos, it has both saved and blessed my life in more ways than I can count!

My parent’s teachings (or “brainwashing,” as you perceive it), was mostly done through example rather than words. More than just the principles of our faith that they taught me as a young child, it was the way they chose to live these principles, the resultant blessings this brought into their lives, and the way I saw these principles help them through many of life’s challenges so successfully that began to build my early faith (“brainwashing”).

Their success and happiness motivated me to begin my own study and application of my faith. Along with reading the Bible numerous times, I have read the Book of Mormon, that you put down, now more than 25 times…and not because my parents brainwashed me into doing so, I’m not sure if they even read it more than once or twice. Each time I read it I love it more, gain new insights and help for many life circumstances, and am more inspired to try and live the principles it espouses even better…which, not coincidentally, Ethan listed many of in his speech.

My friend (266), I’m afraid that my life’s experiences of both not living some of these principles at times, and then also experiencing the resultant blessings and true joy of living these principles has solidified my parent's early “brainwashing”.

While I fully respect your right to not believe, I have to admit that I am truly sorry you have not found in The Book of Mormon and our faith the peace, happiness, answers, direction, strength and other blessings that I have…and instead choose, like Ethan’s peer, to belittle what you have not earned a personal testimony of.

Thank you again, Ethan, for your powerful example of the strength of character that can come when one learns and applies values and principles that give one a personal conviction or testimony (“brainwashing”).

May God bless you to find the same #266.
(10/23/2013 12:45:28 PM)
#185 Transcript of Ethan's speech - corrections

But may I make a couple of transcription corrections. What Ethan said after, "God must run millions of marathons a day." He then said, "And quite frankly, I don't have THE STAMINA for that."

And the last word of his speech is TEACHING.
(10/23/2013 12:55:26 PM)
Standing for Something!!
Well Spoken!! Thank you for "Standing for Something" as IMPORTANT as your BELIEFS!!
(10/23/2013 1:05:29 PM)
President PLEASE
Please run for president some day. THAT WAS AWESOME!
(10/23/2013 2:11:49 PM)
One can have and teach values...
...without lies and silly hats.

In fact, it's the lies that so often corrupt the values.
(10/23/2013 2:24:10 PM)
Hooray for his parents...He is proof of an awesome job!!!
(10/23/2013 4:30:42 PM)
This is great...but misses the point...
Yes - its good that parents train their children - call it brainwashing.

When it comes to certain belief systems - brainwashing may be an accurate label and one should not be chided or belittled for challenging another persons beliefs. Just as the one being challenged should be given respect for his beliefs and an opportunity to intelligently respond. Truth is, if he had Christian patents or Muslin parents with a similar dedication to teaching their child - he would likely be equally fervent upholding those faith values. As many religions conflict with each other, they are not all 100% correct. Fervently believing a lie due to indoctrination is brainwashing.
(10/23/2013 5:59:37 PM)
wonderful boy wonderful parents we all need to follow his example
(10/23/2013 7:11:46 PM)
To the person who brought up the social manners versus religion, I dated a Jewish man and watching him be a human being was because his religion and his parents are one and thesame. God is love and kkindness and vice versa. there is no separation and the young man was brought up to be in the image of God and to do Gods work... so it is appropriate that he signified them as teachings of his parents and God taught them.
(10/23/2013 8:01:31 PM)
Great job.
(10/23/2013 10:00:53 PM)
A parent could not recieve a beter compliment.
(10/23/2013 10:29:06 PM)
Are you joking?
(10/23/2013 11:43:35 PM)
And Who Won?
Most awesome thing is, no one will remember anyone else who spoke! Well done!
(10/23/2013 11:58:42 PM)
whats he doing in the bronx
come to boro park
(10/24/2013 12:06:40 AM)
out of context
The religion is the brainwashing. To bow to anything and have unquestionable belief in it is brainwashing. To be a good person is what any and everyone should be taught. If an invisible man in the sky who will be upset at you is the only reason for you to be a good person then you my friend are not a good person. Religion Is Brainwashing.
(10/24/2013 1:34:06 AM)
Brainwashing - if only there was more of it....
Ethan, I am so glad my parents brain washed me too, and because of that, I have respect for myself and respect for other people and a great love and respect for God.
(10/24/2013 2:02:09 AM)
You are a light
May you be blessed for standing up for your beliefs. Great job. We need more young people with such convictions, values and role models.
(10/24/2013 2:16:08 AM)
That was GREAT!
(10/24/2013 6:18:20 AM)
Great job
This should be on the news.....not all the negative things about the youth today....There are more kids like this - they should be recognized
(10/24/2013 6:35:01 AM)
Brainwased you to wear the kabalah
tell me how that helps people...
(10/24/2013 10:08:19 AM)
Both the "thought process" rebuttal and the sctual spoken one were spot on - kudos!
(10/24/2013 11:08:44 AM)
We are all born Atheists!
Nice straw man argument. Just because his friend used the wrong term, brainwashing, to describe what he meant, does not mean that he implied his parents didn't try to teach him right from wrong like most parents should. My point is that every human is born by definition an atheist and is taught to believe in God and the subsequently the religion associated with one or both of the parents. Before one gets a chance understand the universe around us the way that science has revealed to us, they are influenced to believe in something that doesn't exist, God. Just because our ancestors had to make up God or gods because they didn't understand the world around them as the human race became more and more intelligent, doesn't mean that we have to do so now. Sure, there are some great moral lessons to be learned by our ancestors in those ancient texts, but non-believers are constantly threatened (implied or overtly) with hatred, ridicule, ostracism and "eternal damnation" from family, friends and the community who claim to love their fellow man because they are wise enough to know the real truth.
(10/24/2013 11:36:17 AM)
Brainwashed By Parents!
Ethan Metzger for president!!!!!
(10/24/2013 11:37:27 AM)
another Mom
Another well spoken young adult due to his parents love, hard work by example, and yes....religion. Go mom and dad Metzger!
(10/24/2013 11:40:59 AM)
Obedience and parent's teaching.
We (children of GOD) learn to worship and obey GOD through our earthly parents' examples and teaching...I applaud this bot for standing up to the ignorance and ungodliness rampant in our society today..well stated!
(10/24/2013 1:06:28 PM)
A Jewish mom
ëě äëáĺă, çć÷ ďŕîő
Well done, your parents did a great job!!
(10/24/2013 5:25:56 PM)
Let Rude Kid Take a Bow
I want to speak on behalf of the kid who called Ethan "brainwashed." Perhaps he used a rather rash youthful approach but consider his position. Less than 2% describe themselves as atheists. A poll from U of Minnesota showed that atheists as a minority are more despised than "Muslims and recent immigrants." In bigoted America, that is a heavy load for a kid. So let's give the kid a break. Furthermore, everywhere that I see tribal behavior in full swing. I don't doubt for a minute that the parents are applying a vice-like pressure. They demand tribal loyalty. They keep the tribes going. I see it all around me and it is ugly. Now, Ethan here isn't taking the same rebellious road of his rude buddy, He is playing to the audience, he is a good boy, and he knows he is going to come out on top with this sentimental, main-stream piece. I hope Ethan can break out of the mold sometime. He's young too. But in sentimental America, we should expect a lot of love for this "poem." Sentimentality and the iron fist of power go together. Always. Let Rude Kid take a bow and learn to make his points without ranting despite the pressure.
(10/24/2013 9:21:44 PM)
THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE (namely god) who is watching
call it Karma, Call it Undeffined oneness, call it the source! whatever you call the higher power and force / power source to all of creation
its very important that our youth be brainwashed to believe that all actions have accountability, sooner or later, this belief is far better brainwashing than the perpetual brainwashing done by Hollywood and mainstream secularism
(10/24/2013 9:44:31 PM)
Faith Believer
#266 and any other post that has questioned their faith, remember - "by their fruits, ye shall know them." Perspective is everything. I have seen countless acts of good come from the LDS faith as well as the Jewish faith and other religious organizations. Humanity has an innate quality to question. Even when we are young we are meant to fall before we can walk so we can test the laws of physics and build upon the lessons of trust. Along that path, we will fall and we will get hurt. Does that mean that we should never walk again? No! In this life, we are going to experience pain, betrayal, question our faith and yes.... we are going to stumble. What gets us through those moments is our character, our support system, our values and our faith. Your parents as well as Ethan's parents taught their children well. Focus on that! In our deepest moment of despair, our character will come through and our values support a great character. Overall people who chose to live by morals, values, and their religious beliefs regardless of what those beliefs are, enjoy a higher self esteems, less anxiety, lower depression rates and better health. If you have been LDS, their belief in giving and supporting one another, as well as their belief in eternal families increases those statics. Ethan is also a great example of someone who lives their religion. Rather than defend and argue with the other boy, Ethan chose to think critically and found a productive way to respond to a comment that questioned his beliefs. We all question our beliefs at one point or another but don't let it ruin your character. If your parents brought you up right, focus on that. Let the good qualities come forth. I don't know how many times, I have seen despair and hopeless thoughts ruin peoples lives. Don't let doubt ruin yours.
(10/24/2013 9:59:18 PM)
This is the BEST video I've ever watched on YouTube!
Brings tears to my eyes, and warms my heart. Thank God there are kids in the world like this today....the future is bright, this young man is brilliant, and his parents should be commended. AMEN!
(10/25/2013 9:32:19 AM)
Amazing young man!
Right on! - he is a blessed young man because of that "brainwashing"!
(10/25/2013 9:55:30 AM)
Mazel Tov. Articulate young man.
(10/25/2013 10:10:27 AM)
Wow, powerful!!
Wow, this was awesome, very powerful young man. Thank you. now a days more parents should do this, as I was also brought up this way. respect, honor each other, don't judge. Bless you for your powerful words.
(10/25/2013 12:13:17 PM)
A big WOW....
With happy tears in my eyes I want to say that I could not be prouder of you EVEN if you were my grandson. Your Mom & Dad did a fabulous "joy to the world" by bringing you up to be able to believe in G-d and yourself. What SMART parents you have and now they will have wonderful grandchildren also!! Wishing you all wonderful things. Shalom
(10/25/2013 2:46:25 PM)
Good logical fallacy lesson
Well done! He elequently avoided the real argument, "You don't have a good reason for your faith and you have your particular religious belief because you were just brought up to believe that way by your parents." Then he slickly replaced it with things that had nothing to do with the actual argument so that he could deflect it and have something easy to attack, "All of the social skills, morals, intelligence (all of the useful things you learned from your parents & society) are because your evil parents brainwashed you." Just ignore the false equivocation he suggests (his parents "brainwashed" him with a long list of useful and true things, therefore the religious faith they "brainwashed" him with is also valid).

Shame on the other kid for using the term "brainwashed". It's a loaded term that typically implies malicious intent and was unnecessary for the point he was making. But shame on the kid in this video too for fixating on that loaded term and using such Intellectually dishonest devices to deceive and stir his audience into self righteous indignation.
(10/26/2013 1:15:19 AM)
So beautiful. Your parents are amazing! As a Christian, homeschool mother this is exactly what I hope I am teaching my kids. To have integrity and authentic identity. I applaud you and your parents!!! Well done Ethan.
(10/26/2013 6:18:31 AM)
Great Job!!!!!
Yashir Koach
(10/26/2013 9:01:45 AM)
Bravo, there is still hope for the next generation!
Amazing. I am most impressed by this boys poem, it's content, his delivery of it, and how he has me thinking in new ways. Thank you.
(10/26/2013 12:54:38 PM)
I second that!
Teaching our kids what is important in life is one of the most important things we can give our time and energy to! Bravo to this young man for seeing the value in what his parents gave him and for saying so!
(10/26/2013 6:01:12 PM)
Hate to Listen to Internet Forwards but
Very impressive. I am going to go back and listen to this one many times.
(10/26/2013 8:23:09 PM)
he'd rather call it teaching!

U can call it brainwashing
After much research I've found it to be reasonable and sensible to "teach" or brainwash children into belief in a god who created watches and holds us accountable for each decision
(10/27/2013 2:47:18 AM)
very nice!
this is the good kind of brainwashing, most of our culture needs but hasnt received unfortunately!
(10/27/2013 2:53:09 AM)
so proud
so proud of him! I hope my kids feel the same way!
(10/27/2013 12:41:27 PM)
They have a point
Some of the comments on here point out how this young man failed to address the other boy's argument, that he only believes what he does because of his parents' influence, and instead discusses something else (a logical fallacy). Other comments state that religion isn't even mentioned until the very end, that the values he mentioned are more humanist than religious. They both have a point. And we need to recognize them both.

We need to know WHY we believe to a greater extent than "because I do." God wants us to follow his teachings with our own free will. What kind of testimony do we give to our brothers and sisters when we aren't sure why we believe? And we need to recognize that humanity is GOOD, and made in the image of GOD. We naturally want to do good towards our neighbor, but sin corrupts this nature. Therefore yes, you can have a moral life without religion or a belief in a higher power. We deny the presence of God in ALL others when we pretend that God loves only those worthy of his love. Then again, we cannot brush aside the supernatural aspect of faith/religion for the sake of appealing to others who do not believe. It's the core of religion and of God. Yes, we must present what our faith teaches us to those who think VERY poorly of what we believe, just as this young man has done. But we aren't being honest to the other, to ourselves, to God if we make it seem as if that the blessings in our lives come from us alone.

Just my own testimony/two cents:
I do not believe in God (I am a convert to Catholicism) because my parents or my family taught me these beliefs. In fact, they specifically chose to "let me choose" when I got older. My extended family exposed me to their beliefs through their lives, but left it at that. I believe because I have gone through a lifelong journey full of many conflicting experiences that taught me that God exists and does indeed love me for who I am. I became Catholic because my REASON, given to me by God, told me that it was LOGICALLY true, both within itself and with the rest of the world (we do not have a problem with the vast majority of modern science). Even six years later, I still find myself working to understand why it teaches what it does. I compare what God says to what others say, yet it is always God that has the best answer. Her answers, if you are willing to do the research, go beyond hypocritical double-standards of "think/do for yourself as long as it's not different from what I think is right, because then you're intolerant/ignorant." They just make sense.

Would you say that I still am not "thinking for myself" and am "blindly following superstition"? If you answer yes, then you must have something in your heart against religion itself that goes beyond the "fact" that only "brainwashed" stupid people believe in it.
(10/27/2013 3:57:42 PM)
Good statement
I really liked what he had to say, it was more of a statement then a poem though. I am sure his parents are so very proud!
(10/27/2013 6:26:44 PM)
Thank you for that one!
i am jewish and that really shows what i feel!
really well said!
(10/27/2013 9:38:58 PM)
E Collins
Ethan! Well done!. You are a fine young man and I am sure your parents are extremely proud of you. Never tire of seeking God as He reaches out to all of us. Sadly, blindness is not ONLY a physical affliction....
(10/28/2013 3:58:15 AM)
Jeff Pugh
Somehow the dominant secularists have made us think that a blank sheet is better than a principled holding environment or that tolerance means committing the mental gymnastics denying the validity of your own beliefs before you espouse them. The collapsing West is testimony to this spurious domination. But the race will go to the principled such as we have here. And strong redeeming principles come from an enduring proven historical narrative such as the one this fortunate man possesses.
(10/28/2013 6:45:35 PM)
We are not born atheist or theist...
To 340, who claims that we are born atheist, and subsequently taught religion. Athiesm, by definition, is a belief that God does not exist. Nobody is born believing that God does or does not exist, thus nobody is born either religious or atheist. Theism and Atheism are both learned, and thus both taught. If you're an atheist, you were not born atheist. You were taught to be so. Just as Ethan was taught to be Jewish. Just as I am religious, and was taught to be so; I then questioned what I was taught, and concluded that it was right for me.

For the record, theism and atheism are also both narrow-minded, in that each system embraces particular ideas and rejects others. So please stop accusing only theists of being narrow-minded.

Go Ethan! You are the man!
(10/28/2013 8:04:57 PM)
Good content, delivery needs work
I liked the poem, I think if he wants to advance to the next round, he has to improve his delivery. Tone of voice, pausing, into nations, nasal ness are all things that if tweeted a little would make him better
(10/28/2013 8:33:01 PM)
to 353
listen to the whole poem hear the end. basically implying that he had the sarcastic thought in his mind but wgat he actually responded was that was not brain washing but teaching.
(10/28/2013 10:38:40 PM)
If everyone were brainwashed to be EMPATHETIC like Ethan
Just came from a class of study with younger and older people, and I told everyone there, they NEED to listen to this! It will give them the fuel they need to stay on the path of what it means to do what G-d wants...and that is to do Good. And Ethan, you did good by example.
(10/28/2013 11:33:01 PM)
that was not brainwashing but teaching, just as all the good values his parents taught and practiced by example
you can call it brainwashing
i just call it teaching!
(10/29/2013 8:17:44 AM)
Why are those whose beliefs are inferior always trying to crush the beliefs of those who truly understand the framework of life? May the truth always prevail!
(10/29/2013 9:08:30 AM)
Right on
This was really inspiring...thanks for the perspective and humor! And for sharing the values and morals that my parents taught as well!
(10/29/2013 5:03:47 PM)
Good JOB!!
Way to go mom & dad.. You are leaving a legacy!
(10/29/2013 6:53:41 PM)
refreshing to see this from our youth!!!
(10/29/2013 7:03:29 PM)
That was awesome
that was so nice! very nice to see
(10/30/2013 1:02:03 AM)
Beautiful! Thank you Ethan for standing up for your values and your parents.
(10/30/2013 9:52:37 AM)
Kol Hakavod to you Eithan...I hope and pray my kids feel the same adn can express it even half as eloquently!!!Your parents are awesome brainwashers...
(10/31/2013 3:51:30 PM)
here come the nay sayers
so well done and then I read some of the comments ... so sad that folks cannot just take something that is beautiful and say it is beautiful - but that's ok, I grew up with the contrarians who would disagree with any wisdom and take the opposing view - and to them I say "PEACE"
(11/1/2013 6:38:59 AM)
I like the fact that your parents brainwashed you to be the best you can be, for some reasons that kind of brainwashing is a lost art. Shalom!
(11/1/2013 8:04:32 PM)
I would love to hear the poems that made it so this guy didn't go to the second round..they must be incredible works.
(11/5/2013 7:19:40 PM)
In this day where t v and society teaches children to disrespect just about everything and especially their parents I thank God there are still people trying to teach their children some good values. And for #57 the reason Jews did not eat pork in Biblical days was because it caused trichinosis if not fully cooked and still can today.
(11/5/2013 9:31:59 PM)
that was cool
I'm sure glad I was brainwashed
(11/6/2013 7:10:08 PM)
Amazing young man!
(11/6/2013 8:24:26 PM)
Mormon mom
love, love, love this - way to stand up for your values!!!!
(11/6/2013 10:05:56 PM)
Seems like he went from judiasm to basic human rights. Be good to people, have integrity, etc. That's what nearly every parent tries to teach their kid, regardless of religion. He kind of danced around the whole judiasm thing.
(11/7/2013 5:00:28 PM)
I don't hear him addressing the religious aspect
The other kid didn't bring up any of those other things. He only mentioned the religious aspect of his upbringing, and only at the end did he briefly mention his religion.

The other kid has a point. If he was otherwise non-religious and able to make a cogent, thoughtful choice then would he choose Judaism? Would he believe in G-d at all if he hadn't been indoctrinated into the belief since he was a child?

Alas, that is a question that is unanswerable. But if that "rude" kid did anything then he did him a favor: he made him examine his beliefs by deconstructing them. His beliefs will be stronger for it.
(11/8/2013 5:56:12 PM)
such wisdom
find the ones in the list that disagree with what the gentleman said and you'll find the ones that are defensive because they didn't have the love in their families that this young man did.
(11/9/2013 4:24:52 PM)
God is love and this young man gets that in such a deep and personal way....so much that he displays it.
How many of us do the same?

(11/9/2013 11:32:17 PM)
just wondering.........
#'s 135,196, 255, 345, 340
I don't understand why atheism at its core doesn't take the stance of live and let live? It seems to me that intolerance started with the young man who accused Ethan of being brainwashed! Isn't it hypocritical for an athiest to be intolerant? And so with the notes written by most but not all of the self professing athiests. Why the anger? Although we don't have all the behind the scenes information, it appears that Ethan's faith lived life offended this person. Why???

Ethan is not spouting his parents beliefs any longer. He clearly is the owner of what he eloquently spoke. I could see this young man doing more good for mankind than his accuser! Who would you want to defend you? The bullyish sounding accuser or Ethan? From what Ethan says I surely would want him as a friend. God bless you Ethan!
(11/12/2013 12:18:38 PM)
From a fellow teacher
love it
(11/15/2013 2:26:10 PM)
Ethan may not have advanced to the next round, or won that poetry slam competition, but he certainly won me and the rest of us here who listened to him over. I feel so happy and inspired! Thank you so much and continue writing such inspirational pieces. :)
(11/15/2013 7:14:32 PM)
From a guy with all the right ideas.....
love this train of thought the savages have, where free will means to do filthy things, use drugs, and collect government money
(11/15/2013 8:14:44 PM)
To #106
During creation, the sun and moon were day four.... So day 1, 2, and 3 could have been as long as millions of years.... Hence the Jewish 5774 and the scientific "millions of years ago" can coexist with no problem.
(11/17/2013 10:47:39 PM)
THANK YOU DEAR PARENTS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(11/24/2013 2:46:00 PM)
Teaching my kids, not brainwashing them
I have to agree with #53's valid points and thought she stated her view respectfully. But I also can really appreciate this young man's beautiful tribute to his parents and think he did an articulate job expressing how they have taught him well. The world would certainly be a better place if everyone so thoughtfully raised their kids with values. I was raised LDS and have since happily left the faith of my childhood and am not surprised that other LDS people have identified so well with this young man. That aside, I sincerely think my children would agree with the sentiments in this poem. I spend a lot of time and effort lovingly teaching my children in an attempt to instill similar values in them. Religion does not have a monopoly on goodness, integrity, and happiness. While I recognize the young man and commenters didn't outright say that, it is definitely implied that these teachings were a result of his religious upbringing. I feel like I am providing my kids with a similarly wonderful childhood, without the accompanying dogma, but I respect that religion is what works for others and they have their reasons for believing as they do. I have also explained to my kids that they may believe differently from me when they grow up, just as I have done. I want them to feel free to believe as they wish and to not feel the intense social pressure I felt to conform even though religion no longer made sense to me. Leaving my childhood faith was an emotionally devastating experience for both me and my parents (who now try their best to be supportive).
(11/24/2013 4:22:34 PM)
double wow
from a little Christian boy who was brainwashed too.
(12/16/2013 3:35:21 PM)
What you parents value
This reminds me of when my daughter came home from her all girl college prep-school to say that all her classmates thought she should be allowed to make her own decision about her spiritual beliefs. I thought for a moment and said, " Well your girlfriends parents are all spending $12,000 a year for their education so that tells me that they highly value a good education. I highly value my spiritual beliefs and want you to have a good foundation and knowledge of the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Their parents don't value spirituality therefore they are letting them do whatever they want.
(2/10/2014 6:25:21 PM)
Thanks to You!
What an inspiration you are to other people! Thank you for expressing yourself so eloquently.
(5/1/2014 5:31:04 PM)
Bravo, Ethan! My thoughts, exactly!
#44- Dietary laws for health reasons
(8/13/2014 1:34:42 AM)
I love this kid!
(9/27/2014 9:56:40 PM)
To #106
He may have just been saying we've been here longer than other folks...
(9/29/2014 3:38:37 AM)
Deep down we are all on the same side.
Interestingly enough, we, for the most part all seem to agree that good moral standards are good. And they should abound here in society. So whether you are Jewish, Mormon, Atheist, Catholic, or a "brainwashed" believer to do good; The time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension, it is a time to be strong. It is a time to move forward without hesitation... It is a time to do what is right regardless of the consequences that might follow. It is a season to reach out with kindness and love to those in distress and to those who are wandering in darkness and pain. It is a time to be considerate and good and decent and courteous toward one another...In other words to become more Christlike. Gordon B. Hinckley
Yes, even to the Atheist "christlike". Whether or not you believe he is the son of God he did live here on the earth and he did exemplify good moral standards even if you only believe that he was just another human, he was a great teacher.
Thank you to all those who are teaching or will teach your children to do good and to stand up for what is right and what they believe in. And thank you Ethan for creating the desire in us to choose to be good.
(11/7/2014 1:46:41 PM)
Thankful , Thankful, Thankful
May this be spread everywhere. So thankful that my parents taught me to Love G-d and strive to live like Him. God is good all them time. All the time God is Good and if we strive to be the same; we will never hurt anyone.
(11/27/2015 9:24:35 AM)
That was so beautiful. Every youth should hear that . There would be more respect for authority.
(10/24/2016 4:35:37 PM)
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