There seems to be numerous items in the news each week about the trials our young go through at school. One of the most disturbing is when an unfortunate youngster is picked on, worst still when they are bullied. In this story The Littlest Dragon is teased about his height because he is about the size of a chipmunk and most of the other dragons were as big as horses.
Dragons in this society were supposed to be symbols of power and respect and like many different societies that lived in this area size mattered. If you were big you seemed more important than others.
During the first year of The Littlest Dragon’s schooling some of the other dragons in his class begin to tease him about how small he is, they even try to convince him that he is so small that he is a nobody. At the end of a rather grueling week instead of going home he retreats to the high mountaintops to be by himself and think. It is in this area that he encounters one of the oldest dragons he has ever seen. He is about the size of a dog.
The Old Dragon Sage listens patiently about how the other classmates have teased The Littlest Dragon. He then gives him advise about how to create a situation that would reduce the amount of teasing and bulling.
Most of the classroom teasing and bulling is decreased if the individual being bullies doesn’t respond. The more kids see that their target is uncomfortable and bothered with the verbal assaults the more they continue but if the target doesn’t react the bullies soon move on to other classmates who will become upset with the mean teasing.
I find it interesting that we as a society have a tendency to reject that which is different; those characteristics in others that are unfamiliar to us. We seem to make fun of those who are unusual. Rudolph was excluded and teased because of his nose but when Santa found a use for his difference his shallow reindeer friends reversed their scorn and loved him.
The background motivation for this story came in part from several sources and observations but primarily the idea that height and importance are not interrelated.
I’ve often been amazed at how society gives so much attention to the powerful and notable individuals. Being tall and powerful is important if you’re playing for the Lakers or fighting the Minotaur but I wonder, does size always matter? I know our civilization has historically found favor with those who are tall but could it be that some of our comments to young children make the situation worse.
Quite often when we encounter a friend or relative’s child that we haven’t seen for a while we comment on how much they’ve grown. “Look at how big you’ve become,” we say. Perhaps noticing how much they’ve grown creates a background situation, an unconscious mental process that works in a negative way with some children. When they don’t grow as much as others especially compared to their classmates they could feel that they haven’t improved, that they’re not as important than the others because they’re short.
The main character in The Littlest Dragon and the Princess is excluded and teased at school due to his small size. Fortunately he meets an Old Dragon Sage who is able to introduce him to alternate ways of thinking, of the importance of having a positive mental out look.