Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Bucky Beaver

Through adversity, we can become our best selves.

When I was in elementary school, one of my teachers would roll in a TV on an elevated cart once a week so we could watch the Bucky Beaver show. I don’t remember much about the show except that it was in black and white, Bucky was a puppet, and we were learning about Lewis and Clark. But Bucky and I have some serious history. You see, about that time, my adult teeth were growing at a much faster, larger rate than the rest of my face. I also had an overbite, otherwise known as bucked-teeth. So, once Bucky showed up in our classroom, I was given the lovely nickname Bucky Beaver. 

While there were a lot of hurtful childhood nicknames that would be thrown my way from time to time, Bucky Beaver really hurt. I was already self-conscious of my teeth, and this nickname made them feel much larger than they actually were. I was a rather shy child, and I did not care for this kind of attention at all. When provoked, I learned it was in my best interest to not react, so as not to lend more fuel to the proverbial fire. My parents told me things like, kids will be kids, and they are just jealous, but that doesn’t really make you feel any better when taunted by, Bucky Beaver, Bucky Beaver!

As I observed the various nicknames and taunting going on in this social stew of elementary school, I made it a point to not include myself in this type of hurtful behavior. We all knew who the bullies were, and I could see they were the one’s with the problem. They were just deflecting their own insecurities. I wouldn’t have been able to put it in those words back then, but I began to see what was actually going on. While they were deflecting, I was doing my best to ignore them, something else my parents suggested. By choosing to ignore, I became the one in control of the situation.

Bucky helped me realize I was better than the sum of the words directed my way. He helped me move beyond the taunting and show those bullies just how great I could be. I excelled in my studies, playground activities, sports, and whatever else I put my mind to. Bucky Beaver, Bucky Beaver, fell to the wayside, as I was no longer someone fun to intimidate.

I may not be a kid now, but I can still see who the bullies are. Young or old, they are out there deflecting their insecurities. The only thing the rest of us can do is to be better than they are. I didn’t know at the time, but good old Bucky Beaver started me off on a course of life lessons learned. Thanks Bucky!
Smiley photo courtesy of Clark family archives