Hot Coffee Conversation: “Heck Yeah, I Like Myself!”

As a middle school counselor, I had many opportunities to speak with students about things bothering them. It certainly wasn’t all troublesome topics, there were many happy moments when great success had students beaming with pride.

Bullying was a common thread in discussions about student life. We did our best to provide an atmosphere in which students could thrive.

There was a student who came to my office on a regular basis. His normal countenance was a frown as he seemed to be carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, even if it was just his own world. He was a very kind young man. The discussion always revolved around thoughts of himself.

One day we met in the conference room after I finished a parent meeting. He sat in front of me, the familiar cloud of sadness was attempting to swallow him. I told him to stand up.

“Make a fist and throw your arm across your chest, stomp your foot and yell, ‘Heck yeah, I like myself!'” I said.

He smiled at me as if to say, “I can’t do that.”

“Go ahead,” I said.

He smiled bigger with more embarrassment, lightly dropped his foot, sort of swung his arm, and muttered, “Heck yeah, I like myself.”

“Do it again.”

“Heck yeah, I like myself,” he said, but this time his smile changed. It was bigger and brighter. Boldness began pushing shyness out of the way.

I said, “Stomp your foot hard, make your fist tight, and throw your arm across your chest and yell it!”

All of a sudden something happened. That young man stomped his foot and hollered, “Heck! Yeah! I like myself!”

We both laughed. I said, “Say it again!”

“Heck yeah, I like myself!!” he shouted.

The experience changed my young friend. He never came to my office again. Every time I saw him in the hall, he got that same big smile and gestured with his fist, “Heck yeah, I like myself!”

That same young man went on to star in a musical production in high school! I couldn’t believe it! But I could believe it! I hugged him after the show and said, “I’m so proud of you!” He was amazing!

He graduated from high school. I am now retired. Every once in a while, I see him in town. He still smiles the same way, and he makes the same motion.

“Heck yeah, I like myself!”

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