Using an object lesson, when done right, can be a powerful way to teach unforgettable lessons.
A coach from Relax Kids, a children’s program in Tamworth, United Kingdom, recently taught her young students the hidden impact of bullying. She wanted them to understand about the possible emotional effects of harassing others.
To illustrate her point, Rosie Dutton brought two apples to her class. They looked identical and both were “juicy enough to eat.”
Rosie Dutton, a Relax Kids coach, taught her student about the impact of bullying using two apples.
She then asked the kids to pass one of the apples around and tell it was disgusting. Dutton said:
“We really pulled this poor apple apart. I actually started to feel sorry for the little guy.”
Shortly thereafter, she also asked the kids to pass the other apple but this time, they had to compliment the fruit. The class did exactly that.
Dutton then proceeded to show the two apples again and all the kids agreed that, despite all the bad words that have been said, the fruits still look the same. To their surprise however, they discovered a startling difference after the teacher cut the apples open.
As you can see on the photo below, the bullied apple has bruises all over it.
The apples looked identical but after cutting both of them open, the ‘bullied’ fruit looked terrible.
There was, of course, a little secret to doing the trick. Unknown to her students, Dutton dropped one of the fruits on the floor so she can effectively spread her message. And the lesson was well-received by the kids.
“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.”
She then shared further insights and even confessed that she, too, was a victim of bullying.
“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.
“I shared my own experience of suffering someone’s unkind words last week.”
“On the outside I looked OK, I was still smiling. But, on the inside someone had caused me a lot of pain with their words and I was hurting.”
Dutton also encouraged people to step up and stop bullying when they see it.
“Unlike an apple, we have the ability to stop this from happening.
“We can teach children that it’s not ok to say unkind things to each other and discuss how it makes others feel.
“We can teach our children to stand up for each other and to stop any form of bullying, just as one little girl did today when she refused to say unkind words to the apple.
“More and more hurt and damage happens inside if nobody does anything to stop the bullying. Let’s create a generation of kind, caring children.
“The tongue has no bones, but is strong enough to break a heart. So be careful with your words.”
What a memorable way to get an important lesson across.