Just like any other day, Ibrahim came home from school in tears. He laid back on his bed, exhausted, the insults and scornful remarks made by his classmates booming louder in his head by the minute.
Even after years of getting bullied at school, he wasn’t used to it. The fact that he was not any good in sports and studies, made the other children think that it was alright to tease him and shout rude insults across the playground. The constant comments about himself made him shy and lonely. And every day after coming home, just for distraction, he would paint pictures to express his feelings, and store them in his special folder.
One day, in their assembly, the principal announced something: “We are going to hold an Art exhibition in the school. Anyone who wishes to participate in it is most welcome to.”
When he went home, Ibrahim thought about it, but then he didn’t dare to participate in the exhibition because he thought that he was not good in anything, so what was the point?
One day, the class teacher, Mr. Mohammad announced the test marks. Once more, Ibrahim had gotten low marks, although he had studied very hard. Ibrahim was very disappointed, and it got worse when the boy at the back whispered: I think his brain needs oiling a bit!” Ibrahim started crying. The other boys watched him cry and laughed loudly saying. “So you are dumb as well as a cry baby!” And with this hurtful remark, the teacher quieted the class, leaving Ibrahim with tears running down his cheeks.
Ibrahim always looked sad but never cried in class. Now, he was so upset that he could not help it, and he did not even attempt to stop his tears. The teacher, Mr. Mohammed, took him outside and asked gently what the matter was. Even though Ibrahim never discussed the matter with anyone, he told Mr. Mohammed everything, because he was a kind person and always helped his students when he could.
He listened gravely to what Ibrahim was saying and touched his shoulder gently. “Why do you think that you are not good at anything, Ibrahim? We all have something special about us, which no one else has. Allah has created all of us in a unique way. Now tell me, what do you like to do in your spare time?”
Ibrahim dried his tears and thought. Then, he spoke “I really like to paint, sir. I do it whenever I get time.” Mr. Mohammad smiled, “Then do me a favor. Bring all your paintings tomorrow, and show them to me.”
So the next day, Ibrahim took his folder of paintings to school and showed them to Mr. Mohammed. As soon as he set his eyes on the first painting, Mr. Mohammed could not believe it. It was amazing! It was quite clear that Ibrahim was gifted in painting because he felt sure that even an adult could not paint this well. Every picture had its own style, and it captured the eye.
Immediately, he took Ibrahim to the principal and showed him the pictures. The principal, too, was taken by the paintings, and he wrote Ibrahim’s name for the exhibition. When the exhibition drew closer, Ibrahim got nervous, but he could not believe it when the next day, his name was announced as the winner!! First, he thought he had not heard, but he got up and took the trophy, he felt very astonished and happy. And not only did he win the contest, he also won a national award later on, where he was honored, and given a prize.
From then on, Ibrahim gained confidence. He knew that he was not-good-for nothing, and stood up to his bullies, who then began to respect him. When Ibrahim grew up, he changed from a shy, hesitant little boy to a famous painter, known and admired everywhere.