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Don’t Bully Yourself

Inspiring The Imagination Of Grade 8 Kids

A number of years ago I was teaching an advanced
math and physics class to a group of grade 8 kids.
It was a special class that I created
because I notice that a certain group of kids
were getting extremely bored in class and tuning out.
I wanted to excite and inspire their minds and imaginations.

So I created a class that would challenge them
and teach them in an unconventional way.
This class was made up of the grade 8 students who were
at the top of their class in these subjects.

Once a week for an hour and a half we would
go into the science lab and thank and study creative things.
The class was well known around the whole school
because it was such a different thing.

They All Loved My Class

The kids would leave the class and talk excitedly
about how much fun they were having learning.
In many ways for some of them,
probably most of them
it was the first time in a long time they were enjoying
the experience of learning something new.

Too Stupid

One day a girl who was not a part of the class
stuck her head in at the door just to say hi to her friends.
As she was leaving she made a comment quietly to herself saying
“I am too stupid to be in this class.”

You Are In So Much Trouble

I ran out into the hallway,
leaving my class unattended
and called her back to me.

I called her as if she was in trouble
in that way adults usually do
when they are telling off young people.

I Always Give Young People Respect

Now I should be clear,
I never talk to young people in that tone.
I always talk to them as equals.
I give them the same respect that
I would want to receive from my own peers.

So hearing this tone coming from me
she was quite shocked and came over to me
with her head hanging down.
I could see she was a little nervous.

I Caught You Bullying

When she was standing in front of me I said to her
“I just saw you bullying someone.
I have no tolerance for bullying
and I don’t want to see you ever doing that again.
I am very upset.”

She immediately got defensive and replied
“I was not bullying anyone.”

You Were Bullying Yourself

I said
“Yes you were.
You were bullying yourself when you said you are stupid.
I know you and I know you are not stupid.”

She came back saying that she WAS stupid
because she could not be in the advanced class.

I asked her
“Who really gives a damn about math and science?
They are just two subjects out of many
and not even really that important.
Only a small number of people really enjoy those subjects.

Not being good at one or two things
doesn’t make you stupid.

You Have Your Own Brilliance

I am sure there is something that you are good at,
perhaps better than anyone else in the school.”

At this point she got a little knowing smile on her face.
I could tell that she had identified something
that she in fact was very good at.

It clearly wasn’t math or science,
but it might have been dancing or art
or writing or history
or any other number of possible skills.

I said
“You see, you have brilliance inside of you, I see it in your eyes.
Trust in yourself and believe in yourself
because if you do you can accomplish anything.
Nothing can get in your way.

Don’t compare yourself with other people,
that never goes well.
Trust me I know!”

I said to her that I never wanted to see her bullying herself again.

She got a huge smile on her face,
thanked me quietly and ran down the hall.

This was a few years ago now.
I hope she remembers that moment
And took it to heart.

Look For Opportunities To Lift Someone’s Spirit

Sometimes one positive word
can make all the difference in a person’s life.
A moment of encouragement can uplift
and help them to see beyond the obstacles in their life.

It is a worthwhile effort to look for
opportunities to spread this message.

Encourage Yourself As Well

Of course it helps if we are giving ourselves
this kind of encouragement on a regular basis as well.
If we do, then it becomes much easier
For us to share it with other others.

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