Little Pieces of Paper


Junior high or middle school is an interesting time in life. For everyone, we struggle to find out who we are in that moment in time, how we fit in the social structures of young teenagers, to try to be cool or own our weirdness, and so much more!

During my moment in this time, I was trying hard to fit in. My elementary school from the “country” joined with the elementary school from “town” for junior high. Suddenly my little class of 24 students was thrust into a much larger environment with very different social rules and ways of belonging.

Sometimes in an attempt to belong, we do things that are not kind to others.

I vividly remember being in a language arts class not paying a lick of attention to the teacher when the idea to be mean to the girl sitting in front me ignited me into action. I chose to put little pieces of paper all over her long curly dark hair. The ‘cool’ kids sitting around and behind me began to laugh. This encouraged me to continue.

After about two minutes, I saw a piece of paper hit the floor from the side of my desk. That didn’t come from my hand or the head of the girl in front of me…panic set in. I slowly reached up to feel the back of my head. There were little pieces of paper all over my very long curly red hair. I was immediately deflated and embarrassed. I wanted to run and hide.

It has taken a few years but as I look back on that moment, I learned a few lessons.

  1. Don’t try to be cool – Own your weirdness!
  1. Your actions toward others will come back to you…choose wisely!

As a leader, you cannot be anyone except yourself if you want to inspire and have others join you on your journey. Keep this post in mind if you are ever tempted to speak poorly about someone, including your boss. In making tough decisions that will have a negative impact on someone, reflect and ensure the decision being made is with integrity and care.

What lessons did you learn during your moment of time in middle school?

2 thoughts on “Little Pieces of Paper

  1. It’s important to stand up for other students being bullied. As a 6th grader, I sat in the back of the bus on the way home from middle school, which means you’ve been “accepted” by the older, “cool” kids. I hated how mean they were to the ones that didn’t fit in, but I never spoke up. It wasn’t until they started picking on my big brother that I spoke up and for whatever reason, they heard me and backed off. I’ve never thought about it before, but that’s the moment I started being an advocate.

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