Andrew Johnston beat the bullies!
By Jennifer McLeod, June 2008

I applaud Andrew Johnston, 13 year old contestant on ‘Britain’s Got Talent 2008 Show’, for having the courage to admit to 12 million people across the nation that he was being bullied because of the love of his passion……..singing opera.

I want to let Andrew Johnston know that it is absolutely ok for him to cry when he didn’t win the coveted prize of appearing on the Royal Variety Show, BUT he won the nation’s heart!

 He is a winner because of his courage!
 He is a winner because he stood up to the bullies!
 He is a winner because he has the most superb natural voice for his age! (and as singing was my childhood ambition I would have loved to have had his voice when I was his age).
 He is a winner because he showed not only the judges, but especially the bullies, what he is really made of!
 He is a winner because he gained great confidence and height in just a matter of weeks
 He is a winner because HE CAN!!

All respect to Andrew’s mum who stood by him and continued to support and nurture him throughout a time in their lives which must of been particularly difficult when he was being bullied for his passion.

“When you follow your heart’s desires and do that one thing that’s been niggling away inside you, it’s likely to be that one thing that will make your heart sing.”
Jennifer McLeod © 2006

Reasons Young People Bullied:

Young people are bullied for all kinds of reasons, which includes being different. I was privileged to be crewing with Tony Robbins in October 2006 when a 14 year old teenager, Laura, shared with an audience of 13,000 that she had attempted suicide 5 times because she was excluded from all groups at school for being different……… …why?…she liked rock music!! Tony Robbins had Laura rocking on stage to her favourite rock music and she had 13 thousand adults applauding and rocking with her. She truly rocked! And was a changed young lady by the time she left that seminar. Laura was able to appreciate that it was truly ok to be different and that it was people who are different that are shaping the world, movers and shakers and having an impact on other people’s lives. You only need to think about people like Nelson Mandela, Hitler, Mother Teresa and the Tallest Man in the World

Another group of young people and teenagers being bullied at school are very bright, intelligent boys who then pretend that they don’t have that brilliance just to fit in with their peers. Let’s teach the other young people to look at and accept their own brilliance with the strong message that there is no need to be frightened of their brilliance!

“When you go for what you really want in life, you are helping people more than you realise.”
Jennifer McLeod © 2006

Born To Win!

Bullying is one of the topics that I cover with young people as a part of my Born To Win! Programme for Young People. The Programme helps young people and teenagers to discuss the negative messages that they are getting from society at large and from their own home or school environments, and how they can replace the negative messages with more empowering beliefs for themselves, to create the life they want as apposed to the life that they fall into.

“I didn't belong as a kid, and that always bothered me. If only I'd known that one day my differentness would be an asset, then my early life would have been much easier”
Bette Midler

What Can Adults Do?

What can we do as adults and parents to help young people and teenagers be more accepting of others? This for me, starts with adults and parents! How much are we accepting of others including young people and teenagers and how much do we accept ourselves? We only need to look at newspaper articles or listen to the news to see how much adults do not like people who are different and how we can make people’s lives hell because of their differences!

The Independent reports that more and more adults in the UK are afraid of young people and teenagers, however, labelling teenagers as ‘yobs’ or ‘tyrants’ does nothing to alleviate this. It’s only a minority of teenagers that are violent or hurt other people.

“Children always know more than they can put into words: that distinguishes them from us adults, who usually put into words so much than we know.”

Young people and teenagers are given so much stick in today’s society that it’s any wonder that any of them survive the stereotypes and assumptions as a generation with healthy mindsets. With so much negative press aimed at young people, it can be difficult to encourage young people to be confident in themselves.

The judges on ‘Britain’s Got Talent Show’, Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden?, Piers Morgan, did a great job (in the main), of boosting young people and teenagers courage, confidence, and self esteem with their constructive comments (in the main). Kate from Kate and Gin Act leaves the Show a changed person from the very shy nervous person to being able to step outside of her comfort zone and step up to the challenge of being on stage in front of thousands of people.

Numerous young people from 8 years old upwards entered the Finals, showing adults what they really can do, working and fighting hard to get that coveted prize and place in the Royal Variety Show. From their absolutely brilliant performances, it was inevitable that at least one young person would be in the top 3 and were favourites to win, and sure enough, two of them were: George Sampson (the winner), Andrew Johnston (third place and a winner in his own right) and Signature (adults – runner up).

Semi Finals

The semi-finals of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ was dominated by young people and teenagers, including:

 The Cheeky Monkeys – aged 8 & 9
 Andrew Johnston - Opera
 Nemesis – Street Dance Group who trained and practiced at any available opportunity after work and any available space they could call their own, even if it meant practicing at a bus stop/shelter instead of dance studio with mirrors. Sheer will power and determination, and that’s what I really like about this group, apart from the fact that they are great dancers.
 George Sampson – singing in the rain ‘Mr Determination’
 Faryl Smith – where did she get that voice? A very ‘mature’ 12 year old and indeed very special
 Escala – fantastic talent and entertaining, string quartet
 Kate and Gin – very unique Act and Kate’s ability to communicate with Gin, the dog, is out of this world!
 Andrew Muir – plumber from Scotland and lot more besides!

George Sampson won because of his sheer fighting spirit and determination to win and continue in his self belief to prove to the judges that they were wrong about him last year. That said, he is also a very talented teenager who was busking on streets in UK, before he auditioned for the ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ Show

This is the first time for years that I have watched so much television, but it was worth it, watching children, young people and teenagers excel in the way that they did.

I do not normally watch the Royal Variety Show, but this year I will make an exception and it will be one not to be missed!

These young people and teenagers were all winners and clearly Born To Win!

If you need any clarification or support on any of the serious matters of bullying or supporting teenagers and young people, contact me, Jennifer McLeod on

© Jennifer McLeod 2008

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Author's Bio: 

My personal mission is to have a positive impact on other people's lives

My business mission is to liberate one billion parents, families and young people on their journeys of conscious awareness, enlightenment, light, love and gratitude. Awakening them to their power, dreams and the fulfilling lives that they deserve.

Author, Professional Speaker, Inspirational Parent & Relationship Coach
Creator of Easy Tiger Parents Systems™
Creator of Born To Win! Programme for Young People™
Born To Win! Books Series