Kamal always liked to have his things neat and tidy. This always pleased his parents that they did not have to keep telling him to pack his things away. Not only that, but he was always neat when he got dressed. His shirt was always tucked in and his shoes were always shiny. Mother and Father were always happy to take him with them wherever they went because he was so well behaved.
There were some other children who thought Kamal was different because he did not behave like normal boys would. They thought that boys were supposed to be messy and dirty, not as neat as Kamal was. Kamal always felt bad that the other children would tease him. He did not want to be different. No one wanted to sit with him at lunch except for the girls, and that would make the boys laugh even more. They would pull his ears and ruffle his hair whenever he passed, or throw his books on the ground. Kamal always felt sad about this so he thought he would try to be like the other boys.
The next day at school, Kamal showed up with his shirt not tucked in and mud on his shoes. The teacher realised right away that he was acting different because she knew he was always neat. She called him to her desk and asked him what was going on. He confessed to her that he was always being teased by the other boys for being so neat and it made him sad. He did not want to be different. The teacher was sad to hear Kamal speak like that so she told him that there was nothing wrong with him. He should ignore the other boys because they were only jealous of his neatness.
This didn’t make Kamal feel any better. So, every morning he would leave his home very tidy, but on the way to school he would get mud on his shoes and pull his shirt from his pants. This did not make the teasing stop. All it did was make Kamal feel uncomfortable because he hated looking a mess. One day he decided that he would stop trying to be like everyone else. He liked to be neat, and that was all that mattered.
Always be true to yourself. Do not try to change who you are to fit in with the world. You will earn greater respect when you know who you are and you are happy with it, and you are not afraid to show it.
By Kerry Ann Stewart