Standing in front of the crowd of students and teachers, Pritikin tore a huge telephone book in half. He also took a steel rod and bent it in half only after demonstrating how strong the steel was by having two girls hang from the bar as he swung them around in a circle.


Today, Pritikin speaks up for those youth who sit alone at lunch and who are bullied and often beaten physically.


 


At six feet, four inches tall and weighing 280 pounds, John Priti-kin is the kind of guy many people look up to – literally.

The confident man who stood in front of a crowd of Redwood Valley students this past Monday was not always so confident.

In fact, Pritikin said he was once the kid who got picked on and shunned by others.

Today, Pritikin speaks up for those youth who sit alone at lunch and who are bullied and often beaten physically.

His message is simple – watch out for one another.

Pritikin, who speaks around the world, was in Redwood Falls to do a lyceum for students in Grades 7-12 as part of a Redwood Falls Ministerial Association presentation.

While his message was simple, how he got the attention of those in the audience was a bit more complex.

Standing in front of the crowd of students and teachers, Pritikin tore a huge telephone book in half.

He also took a steel rod and bent it in half only after demonstrating how strong the steel was by having two girls hang from the bar as he swung them around in a circle.

“The majority of you are going to go home to a good situation, but not everyone will,”?said Pritikin. “Some of you are picked on in school only to go home and face the same kind of thing at home.”

Pritikin said as a kid growing up in California he faced the ridiculer of his peers and discouraging words telling him he’s never succeed.

“Don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re not special,”?Pritikin said. “Don’t you ever believe that lie.”

Pritikin said he grew up not able to speak very well, adding he was not the smartest kid in school.

He said he had adults tell him he would never make it.

Yet, Pritikin never gave up, because he had others who were offering words of support – words that kept him going.

Those words got him through high school, and despite being told he shouldn’t, Pritikin went on to college.

By the time he graduated from college, he was at the top of his class. Today, Pritikin, a kid who mumbled his words as a youth is speaking to students around the world.

In fact, after his stop in southwest Minne-sota,  Pritikin is on his way to speak in Israel.

Pritikin, who became a motivational speaker full time in 1994, has spoken to more than three million students around the world, and his message is the same wherever he goes to speak.

“Maybe someone in this school, someone who is listening to my voice right now was like I?was,”?he said. “Just remember they said it to me, too.”

Pritikin stressed the fact he understands the issues students face, adding he knows there are those who face similar situations to his who are ready to take their own lives.

That, he said, should never be an option.

He encouraged those who are thinking about ending their lives to get the help they need, whether it be from someone at school, at home or in some other place in their lives.

He also encouraged students to adopt a policy that day.

“I want you to say today that no one in this school will ever eat alone again,” he said.

Pritikin said students have a chance to be heroes this year by standing up for those who need help.

Pritikin also spoke to students Monday night at the RACC, adding more of a faith element to his presentation.

According to Nancy Haapoja of the Red-wood Falls Ministerial Association, more than 170 students came to hear Pritikin that night.

He blew up a hot water bottle and bent another steel bar that night in front of the group of students.

Pritikin said he knows the students are going to remember those feats of strength he performed in front of them, but he said it is his hope the message he offered is one they remember, too.

There is hope for everyone, and that hope starts with you.