From Chicken Soup for the Child's Soul

Bossy Lara

“Bossy Lara, bossy Lara!” the class roared in chant. They kept on, getting louder and louder in their song.

My teacher, Ms. Dixon, sent me to sit in the corner for a while to quiet the class. I didn’t understand at all. I knew how to operate the record player. I knew to be very careful when putting the needle down to not scratch the records. My father had taught me exactly what to do. And besides, not everyone had steady hands or the know-how to play a record without damaging it.

So why was it, I wondered, that the class got upset when I tried to take over and show Marcia how to handle the record player the right way? I was only trying to help, as I had done many times before. I also couldn’t understand why the teacher had sent me to the corner. I was taught to always help my classmates if they didn’t understand or know how to do something. If anything, I thought the class was wrong in their judgment of me. I thought the teacher was certainly wrong in siding with them.

When everyone was excused for recess, Ms. Dixon kept me in. I figured that I was in serious trouble, but I still didn’t understand how my actions could have caused the teacher to react like this. I had never been in trouble this bad before.

“Why am I here and not at recess?” I asked Ms. Dixon.

The teacher didn’t say a word. Instead, she placed a word puzzle in front of me. I guessed Ms. Dixon wanted me to do it, so I got out my pencil and attempted to solve it. This was like no other puzzle I had done before. It was difficult, with words I didn’t understand. I raised my hand for help, but Ms. Dixon ignored me. Maybe Ms. Dixon was just keeping me in to protect me from the other students’ mean words.

I struggled with the word puzzle until I was about to give up and throw it away. But I was not a quitter, and so I stayed with the challenge. Once I got one word, I was able to get another, and soon I had solved the problem by myself. I was so proud I did the puzzle on my own that I raised my hand high to get Ms. Dixon’s attention.

Ms. Dixon walked over to me, picked up the finished puzzle, and smiled.

“I’m glad that you learned this important lesson from me.”

I was confused. She hadn’t done anything, hadn’t given me help in any way. Now she was taking the credit for my hard work!

Ms. Dixon wrote an “A” on my paper.

“Now perhaps you have learned to let other students make discoveries on their own. After all, that is the fun of learning.”

Of course, she was right. And I finally understood how the others felt when I tried to take over and do things for them. I had taken away their chance to find out how good it feels when you figure things out by yourself.

In that moment, I decided that I would never do anything that would cause them to call me “Bossy Lara” ever again.

Lara Anderson

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