Discovering oneself and making friends

– Navya Ramachandran

It was a fine morning. The birds were chirping, flowers were blooming, there was slight breeze and everyone was going around happy. Spencer wasn’t in a good mood though. He sat aloof in the garden ignoring a beautiful butterfly that tried hard to grab his attention.

Spencer was very studious, alert in class and darling of all the teachers. He was the topper of his class. He was in the 4th grade. He had just joined this new school in the mid year. His parents had got a transfer at work. He had fond memories of his old school. Here everyone seemed mean.

“Hello boy” Came a voice from behind.

Spencer looked back startled. An old man was sitting on a bench nearby and smiling.

“What troubles you?” Asked the old man in a soft voice. Something in his voice made Spencer speak his heart out to him. Some boys in the new school were bullying him. They were jealous of him. He had worked hard to be the topper. He deserved the attention from teachers. Why couldn’t the other boys also work hard? Why were they picking on him? He felt sad.

The old man gave him an understanding smile. He asked “Are you part of any clubs in the school?”

“Clubs! What clubs?”

“You must have something at school to encourage extra curricular activities.”

“Oh yeah. We have these groups for music, art, literary and then martial arts/yoga..”

“Why don’t you join one of the groups? When people pick on someone, while it shows wrong mentality of those people, it also reflects the world in general. This is what you would face from rest of the world as you grow up. ”

The old man took a pause and looked at the boy. Probably he was checking to see if the boy was focusing. Then he continued ” Only way to handle this is to make your own circle of friends. Involve with as many extra curricular activities as possible. That will help your all round growth as well. You can’t change everyone. But who knows maybe some of those bullies may have a change of heart.”

Spencer thought about this for a while. It seemed to make sense. Maybe he could enroll to the Martial Arts classes. Maybe he could beat everyone up. He turned to thank the old man and was shocked to find no one there. He had just disappeared.

The next day Spencer enrolled into the Kendo club. He worked hard on his sword fighting skills. The sword skills competition was just a month away. He dreamed of being able to defeat everyone of the bullies. He ate up all the good food his mother made for him. He stopped the video game time and focused on physical activities. The old man was right. Some of the other kids in the Kendo club started speaking nicely to him. The bully gang was still on their own.

Finally, it was the day for showing the mean boys their place. Spencer got up early and did all the preparation. He had to face 7 kids to be able to win. First 4 matches went easy. As he sat resting and waiting for his next match a kid from the bully gang came to him.

“You are doing good. All the best to you. You are not as bad a person as I thought. Friends?” The kid extended his hand. Some more kids from the bully gang came forward seeing this. Ofcourse, there were still a few who would not talk to him.

Fifth match went wonderfully well until one miss from him. That triggered a few more misses and soon he lost the match. As he walked back to his seat he had a smile on his face. His new friends from bully gang sat a few feet away and waved at him. He had lost a match but had gained friends. He had on the way learned a valuable lesson for life. As he chatted with his new friends he thought he saw the old man from garden near the door of the auditorium. But on a second glance he found no one there. “Must have been my imagination” he thought to himself.

Moral: Focus on activities that you enjoy, that help you in your growth and find your skills. The friends you make along the way are the ones you need. Not everyone can be changed. You don’t need to impress everyone either.

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