By Khansa Alhaidi
Unis Middle School
There’s a saying: “A leopard cannot change its spots.” Rod Glodoski, former drug addict and gang member, strongly disagrees with that idea.
Glodoski grew up in a terrible home in Milwaukee. Abused by his parents, who drank, Glodoski followed in their footsteps. “Bullying had a big impact on my life,” Glodoski, 60, told Unis students during an assembly in October. He said he was bullied because of his Attention Deficit Disorder and also because a fishing accident took out his eye and left him unconscious for two years.
No one likes to be bullied.
At the age of 12, Glodoski couldn’t take it any more so he took off. Where exactly, he didn’t know but he had to get away from the abuse and bullying. The taunting and the pain were too much. The insults thrown at him both from teachers and students were that he was lazy, stupid, dumb, worthless. “I started to believe it,” Glodoski told the Unis students. “That’s the second step of destruction.”
Glodoski believes there are seven steps that lead to destruction of your self-esteem and your life. First is name-calling. Believing it comes shortly after. Then comes the lousiness and acting like the names you’ve been called. After that comes the point where you just don’t care. Drugs and alcohol are the next step, which usually results in being addicted. This mostly happens in high school, grades 10th- 12th. Last, comes death, prison, and hating life, or people we call haters.
Glodoski said he joined his first gang at the age of 12, around the time he ran away from home. When asked what his three scariest experiences after running away from home, Glodoski said, “Shot at, drugs, and jail.”
At some point, Glodoski said he just thought enough is enough, and he turned his life around. Glodoski got help and stopped his addiction. What inspired him to do that? Well, he realized that everyone has his or her strengths and weaknesses.
If you’re a child dealing with abuse at home, Glodoskis advises you to talk to a social worker, a teacher, principal, counselor, or anyone who can help. “Sometimes it’s hard and you were taught to keep it in the family,” Glodoski said. “But the outcome is you become addicted.”
What’s his advice to anyone dealing with bullying? “Believe in yourself. Remember how brilliant you are, believe in your dreams and don’t give up. You can achieve anything.”
Glodoski started off as a bullied and abused child with ADD, became a gang member and drug addict, wound up as a speaker with a multi-million-dollar business. It’s called the Spinoza Company, and it started off small. Today it’s a big company that creates teddy bears with cassettes that play motivational speeches.
Glodoski also wrote a book called How To Become A Successful Criminal: The Real Deal on Crime, Drugs, and Easy Money. This book is about hopes and dreams. It tells us there is no such thing as a successful criminal like those you see on TV.
This book is one of Glodoski’s biggest accomplishments, he said. The other, he said, was finding out he’s smart.
Students at Unis Middle School were very overwhelmed with his presentation. “Ron really made me think twice about the things I do,” 8th grader Israa Ali said. ”He made me realize bullying can start from the smallest things.”
Sometimes your dreams don’t come true so always have a backup plan, Glodoski said. You want to become a famous football player, do it, but go to college in case you can’t play pro football.
Even if things don’t go just as you expected in life, maybe, just maybe you can be like Glodoski and not be a leopard who can’t change his spots. Glodoski’s life proves that change is possible.