Outcomes Offered

■ Enhanced skills

■ Personal empowerment

■ Success in what you're good at

Jack's parents sent him off to see the school counselor. He wasn't sure why. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that he was being bullied by some of the other kids at school, or that he wasn't doing very well in his schoolwork, or that his parents were constantly calling him lazy. I'm not really sure, either.

The school counselor gave him some tests, asked him lots of questions and then she said, "Jack, what you need to do is find what you are good at and then build on that."

But what was he good at? Phil was the best runner in their class, Jemima always made the best grades, and Matt was the football star—but Jack? He couldn't think of anything he was good at.

When he got home from school, he kicked off his shoes. "My goodness," exclaimed his father, holding his nose, "you're sure good at creating smelly feet."

His mother added, "If you were as good at anything else, you could conquer the world."

Jack wanted to protest that his feet didn't smell, but he just gave up and sulked off to his bedroom, where he flopped on the floor in the corner. Mrs. Meow, his cat, walked up to him, sniffed his feet . . . and passed out.

Jack got up and moved away, and Mrs. Meow woke up. "How curious," he thought, walking back to put his feet under her nose. She passed out again. That night he went to sleep thinking about his counselor's words.

In the morning he woke up with an idea for an experiment. The next few days he went without changing his socks. When his mother questioned why he hadn't put any dirty socks in the laundry basket, he pulled some clean ones out of the drawer and dropped them in the basket to keep her from getting suspicious. He ran a lot, especially on hot days when his feet would get sweaty. He avoided showering, just running the water for a while and wetting his hair to make his mother think he'd washed. He didn't want to spoil the effect. He wore his sneakers to bed at night . . . until he thought it was time for the experiment.

In his room, he lay on his bed, took his socks off, looked at his clock, then held the socks to his nose. He looked at the clock again. Exactly 53 minutes and 27 seconds had passed. It worked! They could knock a boy out, just like they had Mrs. Meow. For the ultimate test, however, he knew they would have to be stronger. Then he had the best idea yet.

He snuck some Gorgonzola cheese from the fridge and spread it in his socks. He continued to run, and wear his sneakers to bed, waiting for the right day. Soon it happened. Two school bullies cornered him in the toilets, teasing him, poking at him, and throwing some light punches. Cool Jack bent down, kicked off his shoes and pointed his feet in their direction. "Yuk," they screamed together and, before they had a chance to run, all three passed out—just like Mrs Meow.

"This is great," thought Jack. He didn't need to worry about being bullied anymore, but he knew he had to keep building on his secret weapon.

Arriving home from school one day, he found a strange car in the driveway. The house door was open. That shouldn't be; his mom and dad were at work and he should have been the first one home. Quietly, he snuck inside, peeked around a corner, and saw a robber going through the drawers in his parents' bedroom. Cool Jack undid his shoes, pulled offboth socks, and crept up behind the robber, pushing his socks into the robber's face. The poor guy didn't stand a chance. He collapsed immediately. Jack called the police and then his dad.

That night he was on TV. Next morning the newspaper heading read "Jack Socks It to Thief." He was the hero!

Jack was pleased he had gone to the school counselor. He now knew what she'd meant when she'd said, "Find what you are good at and build on it."

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