Stories about bullying all over the news and social media these days, I’ve written a fair amount of sad stories myself, citing a tragedy that was brought upon by bullying, and urging parents to teach their kids how to treat others. It is a message I’ll keep spreading until I don’t have to anymore.
I saw a viral post on Facebook by Mum in the Moment that really drove the message of how to treat others home in an unforgettable way. Though the post is two years old and has been shared over 245,000 times, I’d never seen it before! I was really touched by it and so of course I wanted to share it with you. Relax Kids teaches “Activity and relaxation classes – creating calm, confident children,” according to their Facebook page, and used this illustration in one of their classes.
Teaching kids how to treat others with just two apples
The teacher posted this photo of two very different looking apples, and said this:
Today in one of our classes I introduced the children to two apples (the children didn’t know this, but before the class I had repeatedly dropped one of the apples on the floor, you couldn’t tell, both apples looked perfect). We talked about the apples and the children described how both apples looked the same; both were red, were of similar size and looked juicy enough to eat.
I picked up the apple I’d dropped on the floor and started to tell the children how I disliked this apple, that I thought it was disgusting, it was a horrible colour and the stem was just too short. I told them that because I didn’t like it, I didn’t want them to like it either, so they should call it names too.
Some children looked at me like I was insane, but we passed the apple around the circle calling it names, ‘you’re a smelly apple’, ‘I don’t even know why you exist’, ‘you’ve probably got worms inside you’ etc.
We really pulled this poor apple apart. I actually started to feel sorry for the little guy.
We then passed another apple around and started to say kind words to it, ‘You’re a lovely apple’, ‘Your skin is beautiful’, ‘What a beautiful colour you are’ etc.
I then held up both apples, and again, we talked about the similarities and differences, there was no change, both apples still looked the same.
I then cut the apples open. The apple we’d been kind to was clear, fresh and juicy inside.
The apple we’d said unkind words to was bruised and all mushy inside.
I think there was a lightbulb moment for the children immediately. They really got it, what we saw inside that apple, the bruises, the mush and the broken bits is what is happening inside every one of us when someone mistreats us with their words or actions.
When people are bullied, especially children, they feel horrible inside and sometimes don’t show or tell others how they are feeling. If we hadn’t have cut that apple open, we would never have known how much pain we had caused it.