Be Hope-Full and Power-Full

“No one can make you feel small without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Attribution Some rights reserved by mikebaird

Fifth grade.

This boy picked relentlessly.

Whether it was her hair, her clothes, or just the expression on her face. There he was daily, the small red headed freckle faced kid who would be her nemesis.

Every day she went home crying to her parents.

One day, she met her parents at the table for her snack. They were there side by side. Sitting. They had something to say.

“Tomorrow, if he picks on you and you come home crying you're going to be in trouble with us.”


She couldn't believe her ears. She was the victim. Didn't her parents know? There was nothing she could do!

“If he picks on you tomorrow. You deal with it. You are not powerless. You can do something.” 

What could she do?

The next day, it happened again. He came picking. She didn't cry. She took it once or twice but before recess the teacher left the room as did the other kids. Just him, his friend and her. Now was her moment.

He started in again,

“Icky Vicki. Icky Vicki. You're just Icky Vicki and no one likes you.”

She balled up her fist and punched him in the nose. Across the desk in fact. He fell over backwards onto the floor.

Nothing happened and they went to recess. He wasn't crying – just sitting over in a corner and rubbing his nose, looking at her. She knew there was nothing wrong. Then, he dissappeared.

When they came back from recess, she knew he was in trouble. He was sobbing and crying at the teacher's desk.

“Did you hit him?”

“Yes mam.”

“Why did you hit him?”

“Because he has picked on me every day for eight months and I'm sick of it and it is going to stop. But, mam, I hit him before recess and he isn't crying until right now. I don't think I hurt him very much.”

She had to go to the principal. But the principal knew. The principal knew what had been happening and so she didn't get in a lot of trouble. Reminded that we don't hit at school. Her parents were called. They listened quietly. They said:

“I don't think this is going to be a problem again. We'll talk to her when she gets home.”

She went home. Wondering if she would get in trouble. She didn't. They didn't say a thing. They hugged her and asked her to let them know how it went tomorrow.

Life moved on and so did the small red headed freckle faced boy. He never picked on her again.

There would still be three years of other students making fun of her in her future. She never hit anyone again. But she always knew that when such things happened, she had a choice.

She couldn't control the things that happened to her but she could control her response.

It was her life and she was going to live it and enjoy it.

She would lean on her family and she would make it through this living hell called middle school. She would even make it past high school.

Then, maybe, she would find some people out there in this world like her.

Her life was ahead of her and it started today.

This is an uncensored, real story. Yes, that little girl is me. I'm not advocating that what my parents did was the perfect thing – but for me, at the time, it was the right thing. 

Probably the two best things said to me were ” you are not powerless” and “it is going to be OK.”

There are choices. Adults cannot always “fix” everything. 

There are no easy answers in situations like this but there ARE answers. 

No situation is hopeless. Just don't let the bullies cause you to hope – less. 

If you hope – less then you become help-less and that is when you truly become a victim.

When you become hope- full you become power- full.

Work through situations. Help children see they have power and NEVER EVER discount their feelings.

I'm 42 years old and I still feel like I wear the “U” stigma on my shirt. Unpopular. Unwanted. Unnoticed. It comes back at the strangest times. But is is OK. I'm not what he or any of the other people in my childhood said I am. 

God has a plan for me and part of it is writing to you in a way that perhaps you will realize that the super-huge mega-large problems in life. This too shall pass. 

You have more power than you think.

You might have a little kid just like me in your classroom. Give them a hug from me today.

Student Bullying
[Source: Buckfire and]

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Brian May 10, 2011 - 5:28 pm

What a fascinating story. A similar thing happened in my classroom when I used to teach. A very shy, but respectful boy sat in the front of the room, and one day the bully looked at him and said, “Get out! That’s MY seat!” Watching from afar, I was surprised at how quickly the student obeyed the bully. I marched up to the boy’s seat and said, through clenched teeth, “OUT IN THE HALLWAY NOW!!!!”

I marched him out to the hallway and told him I was very upset with him, was disappointed at how quickly he got up, and he was to go back into that room and take care of the situation immediately, or HE was in BIG trouble with ME. I opened the door, pointed, and said, “Go!” I watched through the window, and the student looked at the bully and said in a deep confrontational voice, “GET OUT OF MY SEAT NOW!’

Wondering what would happen, I looked at the bully. To my surprise, he immediately got up, said nothing, and returned to his assigned seat. Shocked, the obedient student, wide eyed, sat in his chair, looked at me in amazement, and mouthed quietly, “WOW!” The next morning the mother of the shy boy came down the hallway, hugged me, and said that the teacher taught him what it meant to be happy as well as how to act like a man.

Suzie Nestico May 10, 2011 - 10:58 pm

This is hardly a laughable matter, but I have to admit that I had a chuckle as I started to read because I knew it was you before your acknowledgement of it at the end. This just gave me an idea for my next @Olweus Bullying session. I’m going to start researching to find some other folks who were made fun of when they were younger, but turned out to be highly successful later in life. Thinking I could perhaps do a, “Guess Who,” type of session where we discuss a scenario, show some younger pictures of someone and then reveal who the person turned out to be. Thanks for the idea! And, for the reminder re: hope-less.

coolcatteacher May 10, 2011 - 11:58 pm

Brian! Wow! What an empowering teacher. You know, this is tough because one has to read the situation and the person to do this right. In the hands of a lesser man or a different little boy or a different bully it could have been a different situation. These are tough calls. Helping people speak up and advocate for themselves is always a good thing.

Showing a person that they are powerful is such a part of being a good teacher.

Kudos to you, Brian! applause!!!

coolcatteacher May 10, 2011 - 11:59 pm

Great new book called “The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth.” The only thing that bothers me is that if you look at the stats that Olweus program shows – the bullies are the one who statistically are going to have the biggest problems. Few people see where these kids are headed. Sometimes it is good for them to get caught and dealt with.

Lots of us have had a hard time and growing up isn’t easy for anyone! Thank you for your great work.

Takeahappybreak May 12, 2011 - 4:29 pm

A great message of impowerment! It’s so sad to read about kids being bullied though.

You might be interested in this campaign for your students: PAL, Pets Add Life:

Nice blog! G

Laura May 16, 2011 - 5:46 pm

 Love your story.  I wish my parents had done the same for me.  It took me 36 years and a failed marriage to stand up for myself.

Register domain May 17, 2011 - 9:36 am

 This is first time i ma visiting on this site and i found really a interesting article. thanks for sharing and keep sharing.

coolcatteacher May 17, 2011 - 10:25 am

We all have our own story. Of course, hindsight is 20/20. I see my children I love and as their mom I mess up all the time. The tough one here is that our society often enforces that we cannot do something as I did. What would today’s modern school have done to me? Bless you my friend. It is never too late to learn to speak up for yourself,

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