Who’s Squeezin’ Your Grapes?

There I was standing at the front of a class filled with trouble makers. The principal asked me to teach the “worst of the worst” students. He asked me to help the students overcome disruptive behavior, angry outbursts, and low academic performance. These were “at risk” kids at an alternative high school.

As the students entered the classroom they behaved exactly as I expected. Noisy and disruptive, I knew had my hands full.

The bell rang to begin class. Did they become quiet, fold their hands and say, “Teach us your wisdom, O wise instructor,”?  Of course not. They continued making noise.

In my hand were a pile of red grapes. I plucked one between my thumb and forefinger and squeezed it.

“Oh, what a mess.” I mumbled. “Look, it’s squirted all over.” Again, I grabbed a grape and squeezed, “Oh, another bad grape.” Again and again I squeezed a few grapes. The room became quiet. The students looked pointed at me thinking their new teacher was nuts.

“What’s wrong with these grapes? They are making a mess.” I asked.


“So, it is normal for a grape to make a mess when you squeeze it?” I asked.

“Yeah”, said the students.

“Well then, who’s been squeezing you?” I replied. “There is nothing wrong with you. Many of you are squeezed in areas of life that your teachers don’t know or understand. This class will teach you how to overcome the pressures of life.”

The class was now ready to listen and learn. Throughout that semester they learned how to understand and overcome stress and adversity. We discussed self-awareness, self-regulation, and how to control self-destructive behaviors.

Out of the fifteen students who were assigned to the class, I am happy to say that fourteen graduated.

Let me ask you, who’s squeezing your grape? Do you want to know how to overcome the pressures of life?

A scientific study named, the ACE Study, describes the relationship between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and later health problems. You can discover your ACEscore (who is squeezing your grape).

ACE Overcomers is a program proven to help you learn how to understand and overcome the pressures of life.  I’m Dave Lockridge, Executive Director of ACE Overcomers, let’s talk…  Give me a call at 209.626.5446 or visit us  at:aceovercomers.org.