Students at YTM watched in amazement as strongman John Pritikin of Lodi, California, rolled an aluminum frying pan in his hands, bent a steel bar, and broke a baseball bat with his leg.
John Pritikin talked about a boy who was an outcast at his school. He said that the boy could not read, and the boy’s teacher even told him that he would never amount to anything. The boy’s fellow students also treated him poorly, and he recounted a time that the boy was tripped in the hallway and face-planted on the floor. Even though the boy was hurt badly and bleeding, the other students just laughed.
Mr. Pritikin explained that the boy always ate lunch alone and never had any friends. Then, Mr. Pritikin shocked the young audience by revealing that the boy was he.
He shared how he overcame his obstacles, thanks to the kindness of a teacher, and he eventually went on to college. He got married and had a little girl. Mr. Pritikin recalled a visit to his old school where he used to eat alone. He brought his daughter and pointed to a tree on the school grounds. “See that tree?” he asked her. “That is where Daddy used to eat all by himself every day.” He said that his daughter grabbed his hand and looked him straight in the eye and said, “Daddy, I’m sorry that happened to you. I would have eaten with you.”
Mr. Pritikin then encouraged the students to reach out to one another. “Sometimes all we need is someone to be nice to us,” he said. “Promise me, from now on, that no one (at this school) is allowed to eat lunch by himself.”
In this special program sponsored by our illustrious PA, Mr. Pritikin urged students to be heroes. “Heroes help out people who are going through a tough time, and they also help out people who might not be as strong as they are.” After the heartfelt presentation, teachers followed up with classroom discussions, and the boys continued the conversation amongst themselves. All were inspired by this anti-bullying presentation.