Chapter 1 of 2: We are now going to hear a story about sixth-grader Jackie. Watch how her feelings about herself either motivate her to do the victim thing or to decide to act like an extraordinary hero. This story is called “The ‘ordinary world’ of Little Jackie.”
The ‘ordinary world’ of Little Jackie
© 2001 by Debbie Dunn
Chapter 1: Little Jackie meets the Ancient One
Jackie was a smart girl; or at least, all the sixth-grade kids in her class assumed she was. After all, she wore glasses. Also, she participated a lot in class by asking questions and responding to the various discussion questions posed by the teacher.
As for her looks, she was cute in her own unique style. She was rather on the poor side. Her parents didn’t have the money to spend on buying her the kind of clothes the popular kids wore. Her hair was red and straight and hung half way down her back. Her eyes were hazel. She was about five foot two inches tall. She was a bit on the heavy side. Jackie was not especially popular, but she was not unpopular, either.
One Saturday, Jackie went walking. She found a wooded area she had never noticed before. Loving to explore, Jackie entered. After walking for several minutes, she came upon a clearing. There was a group of rocks and small boulders in the center of this clearing. One area especially attracted Jackie, as it looked like it would make an ideal seat.
Jackie sat down on one large rock and leaned back against another. As she relaxed, she looked around the clearing. It was very pretty. There were several shade trees, low bushes, and a few flowers here and there. Looking up, she noticed how blue the sky looked. When she looked back down, she was much surprised to see an old woman sitting on a rock right in front of her.
Jackie jumped with surprise. Her heart did a quick double beat as she asked, “What? How did you get here? I didn’t even hear you coming!”
The old woman smiled kindly and said, “Oh, I have been around for quite some time. You were so busy enjoying the beauty of this special clearing, you just didn’t notice me. So, Dearie, what can I do for you?”
Jackie was puzzled. “What do you mean?”
“Well, I am called the Ancient One. I figured since you entered my special clearing, you must have some questions or something that you need. So, my dear, how may I be of service?”
Jackie’s mouth fell open in surprise. She had never heard such strange talk. Jackie said, “I still don’t get it. Why would you want to help me? I mean, there’s nothing special about me. I’m just an ordinary girl. Plus, my life is okay. There’s nothing special about it, but it’s okay.”
The Ancient One smiled kindly and looked into Jackie’s eyes intently as she said, “No, I don’t agree. There is nothing ordinary about you at all. In fact, I find that you are quite extraordinary.”
“Me?” Jackie almost squeaked in surprise. “Look, I’m sorry to break it to you, but I am not extraordinary! I’m not popular. My parents can’t afford to buy me the right clothes. I’m nothing much to look at. I’m even a little bit fat.”
The more Jackie thought about what her life was like and how she looked, the sadder she felt. She loudly exclaimed, “I’m not special at all!” And then, Jackie began to cry.
The Ancient One simply sat there and smiled with compassion. Finally, she said, “It sounds to me like you feel like a victim.”
Through her tears, Jackie asked, “What do you mean?”
The Ancient One said, “I mean that you are feeling sorry for yourself. Let’s take this one point at a time. You say you are not popular. Do you have any friends?”
Jackie said, “Yeah, I have some friends.”
The Ancient One asked, “Are you popular with them? In other words, do they like you and seem to enjoy your company?”
Jackie said, “Yeah, we eat lunch together every day and talk on the phone now and again. We also spend the night with each other sometimes.”
The Ancient One asked, “So who made the decision that you are not popular?”
Jackie said, “Well, uh, ..., the popular kids don’t like to hang around me. They are even kind of mean sometimes. They sometimes make mean remarks about the clothes I wear. That’s how I know I am not popular.”
The Ancient One asked, “Does that make you feel angry?”
Jackie said, “Yeah, sometimes. I get kind of mad that my parents can’t afford to buy me the right clothes. I also get kind of mad that those popular kids won’t even give me a chance. I can’t help it that I wasn’t born pretty. I also can’t seem to help it that I’m a little bit fat. My mother said that I simply have a slow metabolism.”
Very gently, the Ancient One said, “That’s what I mean about feeling like a victim. When you feel sorry for yourself about things like your looks, your weight, your height, how little money you have, and whether or not people are nice to you, you are making of yourself a victim. Isn’t that right, Jackie?”
Jackie kind of started. “Hey! How did you know my name?”
The Ancient One said, “Oh, I have known you always.”
Jackie asked curiously, “Why, do you know my parents or something?”
The Ancient One replied, “Yes, I have known them, too.”
“Oh.” Jackie didn’t quite understand, but she let the matter drop.
Teacher Says or Asks: What were the complaints Jackie listed to the Ancient One?
Students Respond: Accept reasonable answers like:
1. She’s not popular.
2. Her parents can’t afford to buy her the “right” clothes.
3. She’s nothing much to look at.
4. She’s a little bit fat due to a slow metabolism.
5. She wears glasses.
- Click CHAPTER 2 to read the last chapter of the Little Jackie tale called “Jackie learns what it means to be extraordinary.”
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