We are quick to label.

Cancel culture tosses many innocents under the speeding bus of selective outrage. Few have the courage to stand with the labeled. The damage can be lifelong.

This parable had meaning for me this week.

During a prank, a student stuck a paper on his classmate’s back that said “I’m Stupid”, and asked the rest of the class not to tell the boy.

But as time passed snickers radiated around the room.

That afternoon math class started. The teacher wrote a difficult question on the board.

No one was able to answer it except the boy with the sticker.

Amid the unexplained giggles, he walked toward the board and solved the problem.

The teacher asked the class to clap for him. She identified the student who placed the sticker on the boy’s back and asked him to remove it.

Then the teacher looked at the rest of the class and said, “Before we talk about punishment for this hateful prank, let me tell you two things: First, throughout your Life, people will put labels on you to break your spirit and stop your progress. Had your classmate known about this label, he might not have stood up to answer the question.”

“Second, the secret to a productive life is to ignore the labels people give you and seize every opportunity you have to learn, grow and improve.”

The teacher swept her hand to encompass the class room. “If your current group of friends won’t defend you behind your back, won’t watch over you, protect you and genuinely care about you..”

She held the students’ attention with her silence before saying, “Forget those who don’t and find others who do.”