Let’s take a moment away from waiting for that “growth spurt” everyone keeps talking about, and complete a critical thinking exercise about what can be learned by being the shortest kid in class.
1. Being short – especially short and skinny – makes it easy for other kids to think you’re weak. Mean kids, will try to exploit this. Oh, woe is the day teacher announces a friendly game of dodge ball…or worse…red rover! You know exactly what this means….red rubber balls getting chucked violently at your head, and the biggest kid in class charging straight for your sweaty, shaky little hand-hold. Because you’re little, other kids pinpoint you as an easy target, and assume you’ll be an easy “out”. These bullies don’t see you as a challenge, but won’t they be surprised when you jump and dodge your way to the winners circle.
Life lesson - you will be underestimated because of your size, and bullies will try to shove past you, whether professionally, or even in line at the grocery store, because they don’t think you’ll put up a fight. Stand your ground, don’t be a push-over, and you can achieve great things.
2. It’s easy to hide in a crowd…just make sure you can be seen when you want to. Congratulations, you snagged that awesome seat right behind Johnny Bigglesworth, the biggest kid in class, which means when you see teacher’s eyes scanning the room to pick a victim, your short stature makes it easier to hide from view. While this can be an asset when you forgot to do your reading the night before, it can be really frustrating when you know you got that math problem figured out, but teacher doesn’t see your hand raised, failing to show your shining genius to the rest of the class.
Life lesson - it’s easy to get lost in a crowd when you’re small, but hiding behind bigger people is no way to live. You may have to work a little harder to get noticed – laugh a little louder, smile a little bigger, sit a little straighter, (or my favorite trick, stand on foot rests of bar stools so that bartender will see you) – but a short kid’s gotta do what a short kid’s gotta do!
3. If you can’t do as the big kids do…get creative! Let’s face it, there’s just some stuff you’re not going to be very good at. Like reaching high shelves, or probably basketball. But I bet you’ll be great at fashioning makeshift stools and reaching devices, like a petite MacGyver. Or you’ll invent an amazing new underhanded shooting strategy that catapults you to be the queen of H-O-R-S-E. See…you can do it too…just differently!
Life lesson - you’ll probably never outgrow the need for step stools (or really tall romantic partners) to reach those high shelves. And you’ll probably never realize your dreams of being on the Olympic women’s basketball team. But you can be a “think out of the box” type of person thanks to your need to be creative. Is that Mac ‘n Cheese just a tad out of reach at the grocery store? No problem! This package of whole grain spaghetti can be hurled in the general direction, knocking that sucker right over (on your head, but that’s a small price to pay for cheesy goodness). Or, behold! This grocery basket becomes a handy step stool when flipped upside down! Genius! In fact, I’ve found there’s not much I can’t do, once I figure out a creative way to go about it. Harness this creativity for the rest of life’s challenges.
What other life lessons did you learn from being the shortest kid in class?