source: | 2000 Games, Devotions, Themes, Ideas and more for Youth Work
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Overview: Short stories – stories for children and teens

Subject: Bullying, humiliation, snapping and running amok


Jürgen – disappointed by his father, irritated by other school kids, treated unfairly by the teacher and then simply ditched by his girlfriend. Jürgen must be eaten up inside by this humiliation. Over time the kettle starts to boil over and a little spark is enough for Jürgen’s fuse to blow.


The story can be used as an introduction to a discussion surrounding bullying (taunting), „not being loved or understood by parents“, or „being left by a girlfriend or boyfriend“ which then can lead to a person running amok (sudden irrational acts).

„Jürgen” or „snapped“!

It is Tuesday morning and Jürgen is sitting in his physics class taught by Sir Dr. Diegelmann. The sun is shining through the window and Dr. Diegelmann is just explaining something about circuits and induction. Jürgen is not listening. Physics doesn’t really interest him and Diegelmann is an arsehole anyway. He is totally unfair and always gives him bad marks even when he hasn’t deserved them. It is totally irrelevant if he makes an effort or not.

Everything seems to get on his nerves at the minute. His parents are constantly on his case with some rubbish and are always putting him under pressure because he is so bad at school. Jürgen thinks about yesterday again. A letter had come home from the grammar school which had said that his progression was in danger once again and that if he failed again this year he would be thrown out of the school. „What shall become of you?! Do you believe that it is easy to find a job nowadays?” His mother ran into her bedroom crying after she had read the letter.

His father had giving him a scouring when he came home from work that evening – the scumbag. He always made himself out to be the king around here. He was the head of the department at work and earned good money. However Jürgen thought he was one of those who just treated his workers badly and sucked up to the management. His father’s boss, Mr Brock, was here for tea a little while ago. „But of course, Mr Brock. It goes without saying, Mr Brock. That is no problem for me at all, Mr Brock. Ha, ha, ha, a very good joke, Mr Brock!” That is how the whole evening went on but as soon as they were alone at home his father would make out that he knew everything and could do everything. He was of course, a sporting hero, had fantastic marks at school and all of the girls were after him. He thought Jürgen was a loser who was not worthy to be his son. He was so disappointed in Jürgen and let him know it at every opportunity.

It is the same case now. „Good, Jürgen. You want to do it the hard way? You’ll get the hard way! There is no more pocket money from now on and you don’t need to bother going out anymore. It’s over and out. I’ll see to it that you get a job in my company at the warehouse if you don’t manage school and you’re bound to fail school – as dumb and lazy as you are! An unskilled labouring job is the only thing you will achieve in life. I don’t understand how someone like you can be a son of mine!” That was another punch in the face for Jürgen. He didn’t know if he should burst into tears or give his father a slap. He was sad but immensely angry. He knew that he wasn’t the cleverest of people but he had tried at school, at home and at football but everyone seemed to pick on him.

Up until a few days ago, the only shining light in his life was Gabi. She was in the class below him and he had been in love with her for months. She looked fantastic with her long blond hair, sparkling blue eyes and a great figure. She was the only one who didn’t laugh at him but laughed with him and she could laugh a lot... They spend a lot of time together in the school yard. He could talk to her about anything until everything changed. Jürgen had been play fighting with her and as he held her in his arms, looked into her blue eyes and smelt the wonderful fragrance of her body he felt quite strange. „Now or never!” He thought to himself and tried to give her a kiss. She had quickly turned her face to the side and had screamed at him pretty hysterically: „Are you mad, what was that then!? You know that I am going out with Mario!” Jürgen’s world collapsed around him at the moment. „Please... Gabi, I am sorry. I mean... I have wanted to tell you for ages that I am totally in...“ Gabi interrupted him. „Leave it, ok? It isn’t worth it. I do like you but only as a friend. Understood? Please don’t be mad at me” and then she simply left. Jürgen felt as if the sun had gone down in his life and he was now covered by a big black darkness in his soul. The only thing he wanted was Gabi and he had felt like that since he had met her. He wanted to be with her to hear her laugh, talk with her and take her in his arms... but he could forget it now. Since he had tried to kiss her, Gabi tried to avoid him. He stood there all alone in the school yard. He didn’t have any friends. He saw Gabi coming but she did not return his acknowledgement and turned away from him. She was there – so close but totally unattainable...

„Jürgen! My lad, Jürgen!“ Dr. Diegelmann is suddenly standing in front of Jürgen’s school bench who is abruptly pulled from his thoughts. „I asked you a question but you don’t really have to answer. You don’t have to bother listening with your great school marks.” The whole class laughs. Everyone is laughing at him and Jennifer, the silly cow in the first row, has to go even further: „Not only is our Jürgen dumb. He is also a wuss. No wonder Gabi doesn’t want him!” And everyone laughs even more at him. „Leave it Jennifer!” warns Diegelmann. „We don’t need to hear about Jürgen being a wuss in this class. It would interest me more to know what he knows about induction. What do you think, Jürgen, should I ask you a few questions?” „Ummm... no thanks!” Jürgen is not quite finished with his thoughts and sees the next calamity arriving. „Oh yes, I think we should do this. Please come to the front, Jürgen.”

With loud applause from his classmates, Jürgen goes to the blackboard and takes the chalk in his hand. He knows that he doesn’t have a hope. Like we said before, he doesn’t like physics, he doesn’t like Diegelmann and he has the whole class against him. „OK, the first question is: Using the three finger rule, which forces do the three fingers on the right hand represent when determining the induction in an electrical field?“ Jürgen didn’t have a clue. „Could you... could you repeat the question?” „If you think it will be any use... so, the fingers on the right hand: which forces do they represent? I hope that you know which hand the right one is?” The whole class starts laughing again. They are all enjoying laughing at him and someone even throws an empty can at him. He really could have spared us that joke. Once again Jürgen does not know if he should cry or yell out with anger. He is standing at the blackboard alone. No one helps him and it is like everything in his life – he is always alone...

The teasing by his classmates does not stop and pride and anger start to take Jürgen over inside. He takes the middle finger of his right hand and sticks it demonstratively up at Dr Diegelmann. „This finger stands for jerk, you jerk!” Everyone is silent for a moment and Jürgen feels really strong. They can all be against him; he won’t let himself be made a fool of.

„Ok, Jürgen. You asked for it. You get an F and a warning. I’ll call your parents later.” Dr. Diegelmann is calm and quiet once again. Jürgen’s classmates start to bawl again. „What have they got against me? I haven’t done them any harm?” Jürgen thinks to himself. He is now more sad than angry as he slips back to his seat. Tears start to roll down his cheeks. „Cry baby!” „Wuss!”

The rest of the period goes so slowly and Jürgen is scared to go home today. He knows exactly what will be waiting for him. Mother will be terribly disappointed in him again. She will look at him with tearful eyes and won’t say anything at first. It will flow out of her later on: „What shall become of you? What have we done wrong as parents?” His father will give him a good clipping later on. Maybe he will be so angry that he will really give him a beating.

Finally the bell rings for break time. Jürgen flees the classroom quickly. He cannot be bothered to listen to the taunts of his classmates anymore. He really isn’t doing well. He is scared – not only of his father, but also scared of his future. He does not want to leave school and work in the warehouse and he feels terribly lonely. No one is there who understands him. He cannot talk to anyone except maybe… Gabi: he could always talk to her about everything and she was the only one who understood him.

Jürgen makes his way to the sports field. Gabi usually spends her breaks at the climbing frame with her friends. Today too, they are standing over there. „Gabi!” Jürgen grabs her shoulders from behind. She turns around to face him. „Jürgen. What do you want?” „Gabi, I am not doing too well. Can I talk to you?” One of the girls, who is standing around, starts to laugh. „Hey Gabi, is that your Romeo?! He is awful! No wonder that you didn’t want anything to do with him. With all the spots on his face you could catch the plague!” Everyone is staring at him and looking at the spots on his face while laughing. Everyone is laughing at him once again. The worst thing for Jürgen is that Gabi is laughing too and not with him like before. She is laughing at him. „Gabi, please!“ Jürgen is fighting back the tears. „Please, I need you...” but Gabi turns away from him. „Get lost, spotty! I told you that I don’t want anything to do with you.” The break bell rings and everyone leaves Jürgen alone on the field.

Jürgen is now completely alone in the world. Gabi hates him. His classmates hate him. His parents hate him. „Why? I just want to be happy as well. I just want someone to like me. I don’t want to work in the warehouse. Everyone is against me. Everyone hates me. Shit world! Shit life! Those pigs!” Jürgen is absolutely helpless. There is no hope for improvement... He thinks about what it would be like if he didn’t come home this afternoon because he had slit his wrists. He pulls the pocket knife out of his pocket which he always carries and flicks open the blade. If he were dead everyone would cry about him and feel guilty about the fact that they didn’t give Jürgen a chance. His parents would notice how mean they had been to him and….

At that moment someone taps Jürgen from behind. „The break is over!” Jürgen turns around. It is Dr. Diegelmann, who has break duties today. It would be Diegelmann. „What do you want with the knife?! Are you totally mad now?” Jürgen sees how the fear grows in Diegelmann’s eyes grows. He is scared of him. A feeling of power and dominance comes over Jürgen. In the lesson before Diegelmann was so strong as he made fun of him and now he is scared. „Didn’t you hear? Give me the knife you idiot!”

He shouldn’t have said that - not Diegelmann and not at that point in time. Not only the feeling of power is rising in Jürgen, but also hate, anger and despair. „You stupid jerk!” In a state of trance Jürgen stabs the knife into his teacher’s stomach. He crumples up, falls to his knees and stares with painful eyes. „Jürgen, you...“ Jürgen stabs again. „It is Diegelmann’s fault. It is Gabi’s fault. It’s everyone’s fault that my life is so crap and they will all have to pay now.” Jürgen stabs again and once more. It is like a kick. It is his wrath – his wrath on Diegelmann and on this whole damned life....

On the same day in the news: „... it ended in tragedy at the grammar school as the 16 year old J. H. stabbed his physics teacher without any reason in the school yard and then tried to take his own life by slitting his wrists. The teacher died immediately on the school premises while the teenager’s life can probably be saved according to doctors. The motive for the killing cannot be definitely confirmed by police yet however it is possible that the scholar went berserk due to his poor grades. Fellow classmates describe the 16 year old as a quiet and rather plain outsider...“

Suggestions for questions for an introduction to a discussion:

  • Can you understand the situation?
  • What were the things which lead to the crime?
  • Who was „to blame“?
  • What would you have done?
  • Could that happen to you? Have you snapped before? What were your reasons?
  • Which (other) ending to the story would you have liked to hear? Why?
  • What can we learn from such a story? From the point of view of: Jürgen, his father, the mother, the classmates, the best friend and the teacher?

Learning aim:

  • No one would like to be treated like Jürgen so do not treat anyone else like that.
  • You can recognise the signs of someone „boiling over” from little reactions. Helping instead of „going one better / stepping on someone when they are down” would be good.
  • Putting someone down is cowardly and mean especially when everyone is picking on them.

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