Troubled Teens & Stupidity – Stupid is What Stupid Does, by Craig Rogers of Zion Educational Systems, St. George, Utah.
Troubled Teens and Stupidity, Stupid is what stupid does, is a famous term in the movie Forrest Gump. I work with troubled teens (who think of themselves as being stupid, but they are not) and I am always looking for an edge to get some important points across to closed ears, therefore I use movies to teach from. At Zion Educational Systemswe use many alternative means to present “truth” to troubled teens who are discouraged, misunderstood, and misaligned. As a college preparatory Christian boarding school for troubled teens, Zion Educational Systems is dealing with powerfully talented and highly intelligent teenagers who have “lies they believe”. One of the predominant lies is “I must be stupid”. How sad… We work very hard to undermine that lie and replace it with the truth, and that is “you have what it takes, you are able, you are capable, and you are extraordinary!”
My favorite troubled teen teaching movie of all times is “Forrest Gump”. The famous line in the movie comes from Tom Hanks character, Forrest Gump. He says, “Stupid is what stupid does.” This is a profound statement that many pass over without stopping to understand its meaning, especially troubled teens. Zion Educational Systems pushes hard to teach the students that they are not stupid, but sometimes their actions are. Fortunately, they are not their actions, and actions can change fast.
The entire movie is about a “stupid” man, Forrest (Forrest has an IQ of 70), who makes all the right (righteous) decisions, while the other main smart characters in the movie, mainly “Jenny”, makes poor decision after poor decision. Other characters, such as Lieutenant Dan, also make some pretty horrendous decisions. Lieutenant Dan finally becomes smart, after joining Forrest and “has it out with God”, resulting in “letting go of stupid”. Jenny herself, after living a life of one stupid choice after another, in the end finally makes a series of wise decisions, finally distancing herself from the stupidity of her past. Essentially, the positive impact from having a relationship with Forrest, Jenny and Lieutenant Dan got their acts together and stopped making foolish choices.
Zion Educational Systems
Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.
Stupid is… Stupid is something that we do, something that we align ourselves with, something that we adhere to, hold on to, and struggle with as we keep ourselves connected to it. We all do it, not just troubled teens. We all have moments where we make choices that we know are stupid, but deep down we believe that there is something worth while, if only we might get away with it. Schools for troubled teens are filled with boys and girls thinking that they can get away with stupid behavior. Stupidity is often thought of as being “foolish”, and to be smart is often referred to being “wise”. Stupidity is a form of stubbornness, which is also associated with foolishness, especially as we continue to try something that has been proven not to work. Somewhere deep inside we know what we do is foolish, but we hold on to the hope that we can be smart enough about being stupid that we won’t get caught. The stupid things we do… are the foolish things we do. Where is the wise among the foolish? Where are the foolish among the wise. Foolishness and wisdom are polar opposites of one another.
At Abundant Life Academy we teach our troubled teenagers that intelligence, if given long enough, will eventually win out. Meaning, we all have some level of intelligence, even when we make foolish choices over and over again. And, if we are given long enough our intelligence will finally overpower our foolish choices. We might finally come to the place where we say, “I’m not doing that again, that would be stupid.” Or, “I’m not foolish, there’s no way I am going to do that again!” Intelligence can be dormant, but not for long, as it seems to eventually find its way into our choices. We can always put our faith in foolish things, but eventually intelligence wins, because intelligence can’t be kept down. After we suffer enough pain our intelligence seems to override our stupid foolish choices and we begin to change. Some people call it knowledge, others call it wisdom, and even more call it emotional maturity. No matter what we call it, when we finally align ourselves with intelligence, the consequences of doing stupid and foolish things disappears.
We also teach that life will knock the stupid out of us if we hold on to stupid. Meaning, students who leave Abundant Life Academy and return to the same old behaviors, the ones that led them to be enrolled in the first place, will receive the same old consequences. But somehow this time the consequences are twice as bad. Through the old behaviors they certainly will receive loss and regret; loss of freedom, trust and respect, which they will regret. To return to the old behaviors after all they have gone through is foolish, and if they hold on to foolishness “life” will knock the foolish right out of them. What is “life”? Life is filled with rules, authority, and those who will control people who can’t make good decisions. Sometimes, students leave ZES and find themselves in prison. If they find themselves in prison the stupid is certainly knocked out of them (meaning in prison they can learn their lesson and refrain from making the same old foolish decisions, finally).
Psalms 10:14 says, “Wise men store knowledge, but through the mouth of the foolish ruin is at hand.”
“Stupid is what stupid does”, means that stupid is in the doing. It’s what we do that is stupid, and not ourselves. Another way to look at it is that we are not stupid, but what we do can be classified as being a foolish act. If it is our actions that are stupid and/or fooolish, that’s good news. Since we are not our actions, and our actions can always be changed, our “stupid” choices can be eliminated. At Zion Educational Systems we teach and coach about EQ, which is “Emotional Intelligence”. We teach our students to make choices that are emotionally intelligent, to think before acting, and acting through good thinking. By thinking before we act we can avoid the outcome (consequences) of being foolish.
The Bible speaks of light and dark, and there is no darkness in light. Darkness cannot exist in the light, and light overcomes the darkness. It’s the same with wisdom and foolishness. Wisdom cannot exist in foolishness, and foolishness has no part in wisdom. These truths are very important as we decide our actions and behaviors (choices and decisions). We can align ourselves with the light (truth), and receive the consequences of the light (which is life), or we can align ourselves with the darkness (foolishness), and receive its consequence. The outcomes of either will be swift and powerful, and real. Therefore, for those who wish to avoid the consequence of fools, wisdom is the place to be. Choose the light, choose wisdom, and let go of stupid and avoid the food of fools.
This week we are going to study the entire chapter of Matthew 25. Lets explore the foolish and the wise, and the outcome of both. If we are willing to make one stupid (foolish) act, the chances are that we are willing to make many others. So beware! If we are willing to make one wise act, then the chances are that you are willing to make many others. That is what we want, to make one wise choice after another. But we need to let go of stupid. The problem for the foolish is that they don’t think through the outcome of being foolish. Note: The outcome of being fools can’t be avoided when we act foolishly. We would be fools to think otherwise. The same is true for the wise, as the outcome of being wise cannot be altered or changed. The good and power that comes through wisdom is incredibly beautiful and sweet. Read and study Matthew 25 and be ready to discuss choices and outcomes of the wise, and the foolish.
The Parable of the Ten Virgins
1?At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6?At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7?Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
9? ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10?But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11?Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’
12?But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
13?Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
The Parable of the Talents
14?Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15To one he gave five talents[a] of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19?After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’
21?His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!
22?The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.
23?His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
24?Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26?His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28? ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
The Sheep and the Goats
31?When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34?Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37?Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40?The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
41?Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44?They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45?He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46?Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”