Many teachers encounter the situations of kids trying to imitate each other at the expense of their own personalities, or kids that try to change who they really are just to fit in. The Blue Fox is an excellent tale to read to your students to help drive home the importance of being true to yourself. Pair it with a lesson emphasizing the importance of being who you are and proud of it. The language is simple which is great for kids in younger grade levels, but the profound message makes it a relevant story to even kids in the upper elementary grades.
The basic premise of The Blue Fox is that a fox, accidentally dyed blue while running away from dogs, sees the power of looking different and unrecognizable when animals become scared of him. He decides to deceive the animals and pretends he is someone he is not. Eventually, however, his true self comes to light when he howls just like the other foxes. Then the animals discover what he really is, and he regrets trying to be someone he is not.
Discuss the lesson behind the story with your class. Why did the fox want to change? What benefits did he get by changing? Bust did he deserve those benefits? And what happened when he was found out?
Of course, not all changes or acts of imitation are for the worse, but when you see Kids trying to change who they are can be problematic for several reasons. A big change in behavior could mean they could be uncomfortable on the inside. Some students imitate bad behavior with the mindset that it makes them look “cool” or like a rebel to the rest of the class. Talk with your students about being proud of your good attributes while trying to change just the ones that could use improvement.
The underlying issue behind a big change in behavior in a student could be that they are not comfortable with themselves and who they are as a person. This could be the result of messages they receive on TV or other media sources, or could be the result of teasing or even bullying on the part of classmates. After reading the story and having the discussion with your students, if you still feel like more needs to be done about the situation, talk to the student(s) in question in person or set up a meeting with their parents.