SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT #4: I Just Have to Outrun You

Hi, this is Michael Josephson with something to think about.

During a camping trip, Marie and Jessica were hiking in a trail when they saw a big black bear. Marie started to take off her backpack. Jessica whispered, “What are you going to do?”

Marie answered, “I’m going to run for it.”

“You can’t outrun a bear,” Jessica replied.

Marie just looked at her friend and said, “I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you.”

Sadly, this self-centered “look-out-for-number-one” mentality is common in today’s society, even on a lot of school campuses.

Everywhere, basically good people engage in — and justify — selfish, short-sighted conduct that treats classmates, teammates and even their so-called friends as competitors rather than comrades.

A very different vision is suggested by a story about nine youngsters in the Special Olympics (The Special Olympics are for children and adults with intellectual disabilities)*.

Right after the start of a race, a young boy stumbled badly and fell down. A girl just ahead of him noticed and turned around to help him up. As the other runners saw this, one by one they all went back to help their fallen comrade. Then, all nine linked arms and triumphantly ran together to the finish line.

When I think of the bullying problems at most schools in relation to this story I realize how powerful it is when kids, like the first girl to help the fallen runner, see a problem and take it on themselves to deal with it.

Teachers, parents and other adults can make rules and try to enforce them, but the only way school is going to be a safe place is if the majority of students stand together, united in a commitment to create a culture of caring where students like you support, help and protect classmates who are the victims of mean and nasty conduct.

It’s your choice – run together arm in arm or keep trying to outrun each other.

What do you think?

If you want to find out more about a new culture of caring project by the Josephson Institute, called We Stand Together, write us at


The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing year-round training and competitions to more than 3.7 million athletes in more than 170 countries. Special Olympics competitions are held every day, all over the world—including local, national and regional competitions, adding up to about 50,000 events a year.

“There are times when we become disheartened or discouraged and life may feel like an uphill climb. Those are the times to remember that a rewarding life is filled with challenge; the effort creates fires that temper us and strengthen our spirit. So do not feel pity for me. Give me a chance! ”  — Thomas Gatu, Special Olympics Kenya, athlete and coach


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