Volume 4, Number 7, October 19, 1998
Amy’s Political Career
Ravera, who taught seventh grade social studies, was on lunch duty as
Missy’s outburst reached his ears. He strolled over to the
girl who was being comforted by her friends. “And what was
that all about, Little Missy?” he inquired.
Mr. Ravera hadn’t realized how upset Missy was, and she did her best to conceal it. “How did you know my name?” she asked.
“You answered my question with a question,” Mr. Ravera said. “Never answer a question with a question.”
“I really don’t want to talk about it.”
“Well, young lady, we can’t have that kind of behavior in this cafeteria. You’ll have to discuss the matter with Mr. Grumbell.”
And so, poor Missy Lakeland, who was already fighting back tears, was dispatched to the office.
had caught up with Amy, just as she walked into Miss Patron’s
English class. He wanted to talk to her, to try to say something
encouraging or comforting, but it was time to take his seat, two rows
away. Perhaps it was just as well, he thought, since Amy did not appear
to be in a talking mood.
Amy, like most of the kids in the room, thoroughly enjoyed Miss Patron’s English class. Here was a teacher who always turned reading and writing into an adventure. Amy was glad that she would be able to temporarily forget her problems, at least until the next bell.
No such luck! Only ten minutes had passed when Mr. Grumbell’s voice leaped out of the speaker at the front of the room. “Excuse the interruption. Miss Amy Ashwood, please come to the office.”
entered the vice principal’s office, took a seat, and
prepared to face the music. Mr. Grumbell was seated behind his large
desk. He looked at Amy with an expression that was more serious than
angry. “I just had a talk with Miss Lakeland. It
wasn’t her idea to tell me what happened, but Mr. Ravera sent
“She must have been pretty mad,” Amy said softly.
“No, she was much more sad than mad,” Mr. Grumbell replied. “Did you want to make her cry?”
“I remember some talks we had in elementary school. You did have, shall we say, a tendency to insult people.”
“Yes, but I only wanted to make them angry, not hurt anyone.”
“You hurt Missy. She said you called her stupid.”
“Kind of,” Amy admitted. “Do you want me to apologize to her?”
“Only if you’re really sorry. Otherwise, it wouldn’t mean a thing,” Mr. Grumbell responded.
“I am sorry. I’ve been trying to be really nice, and now I’ve failed,” Amy announced.
“But Amy, are you sorry that Missy was hurt or are you just feeling sorry for yourself?”
“Both, I guess. I didn’t want to hurt Missy. And I do feel bad that I failed at being nice.”
“You didn’t fail, Amy,” Mr. Grumbell declared. “There’s nothing wrong with failing. Failing means you tried your best and things didn’t work out. Anyone who tries to accomplish things will fail once in a while.”
“If I didn’t fail at being nice, what did I do”? Amy asked with a puzzled expression.
“You made a choice. You quit trying to be nice, at least for a moment. It’s OK to be a failure, it’s not OK to be a quitter.”
“Is it too late? Can I unquit?” Amy asked.
“That’s completely up to you,” Mr. Grumbell said reassuringly.
The bell rang. “Don’t be late for your next class, young woman,” Mr.. Grumbell said. “Check back with me and let me know how things are going.”
Amy thanked Mr. Grumbell and headed for math class.
1. Mr. Grumbell believed that there was an important difference between failing and quitting. Can you explain the difference?
2. Pretend that you are Amy and you decide to apologize to Missy. What would you say?
Chapter Four will be published on November 30, 1998.
Copyright 1998 RHL
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