Courage in Action

A couple of years ago, I witnessed courage that ran  chills up and down my spine. At a high school assembly, I had spoken about picking on people and how each of us has the ability to stand up for  people instead of putting them down.  Afterwards, we had a  time when anyone could come out of the bleachers and speak  into the microphone.  Students could say thank-you to  someone who had helped them, and some people came up and did  just that.  A girl thanked some friends who had helped her  through family troubles.  A boy spoke of some people who supported him during an emotionally difficult time.

Then a senior girl stood up.  She stepped over to the microphone, pointed to the sophomore section and challenged her whole school.  "Let's stop picking on that boy.  Sure, he's different from us, but we are in this thing together. 

On the inside he's no different from us and needs our acceptance, love, compassion and approval.  He needs a friend.  Why do we continually brutalize him and put him down? I'm challenging this entire school to lighten up on him and give him a chance!"

All the time she shared, I had my back to the section where the boy sat, and I had no idea who he was.  But obviously, the school knew.  I felt almost afraid to look at his section, thinking the boy must be red in the face, wanting to crawl under his seat and hide from the world. 

But as I glanced back, I saw a boy smiling from ear to ear.  His whole body bounced up and down, and he raised one fist in the air.  His body language said, "Thank you, thank you.  Keep telling them.  You saved my life today!"

By Bill Saunders
from Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul
Copyright 1997 by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and
Kimberly Kirberger

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