“Hey, Mike,” Chris said in a loud whisper. “Good thing Mr. Morton didn’t call on you!”
“Yeah,” another boy said. “Mike would never have known the answer.”
“You’ve got that right,” Chris replied. “The only thing small about Mike is his brain!”
Behind me, Mike tried to laugh. I peeked over my shoulder. His face was bright red. Mr. Morton kept writing on the board as if he hadn’t heard a thing.
This was my first week in seventh grade, and the boys picking on Mike were probably two years older than me. Mike was taller than all of us, and he wouldn’t want my help anyway, I reasoned. But as the teasing continued, I thought I was going to cry.
After school, I kept thinking of all the mean things the boys had said. “If I were Mike, I wouldn’t come to school at all,” I decided. I felt sad for the way he had tried to joke with the bullies, only to have them make fun of whatever he said. “If I were older, I would have known what to say to them,” I thought.
Then I remembered a family home evening about how missionaries depend on the Holy Ghost to help them know how to teach people. Dad said if we read the scriptures and invite the Holy Ghost to help us, we can know what to say and do too—even at school.
The next morning, I read my scriptures and prayed. “Heavenly Father,” I said, “I feel so sad for Mike. Please help me to know how I can help him.”
One of the scriptures I read said that when we help other people, we’re actually helping Jesus Christ (see Mosiah 2:17). “I wouldn’t be too scared to talk to the bullies if they were picking on the Savior,” I thought.
I wrote that scripture on a note card and put it in my notebook. I read it often during the day, but I still didn’t know how I could stop the teasing.
Then one afternoon, as I left math class, my answer came. The Holy Ghost whispered, “Mike needs to know you care about him, and the bullies need to know you don’t like what’s going on.” My hands felt clammy. My legs started to shake. I bit my lip and said a silent prayer.
A minute later in the hall, I heard Chris yell a mean comment to Mike. I took a deep breath. “Hey, Chris,” I said, “If you can’t say something nice, just be quiet.”
Chris gave me a mean look. “Boy, that sounded silly,” I told myself. But the bullies didn’t say anything else to Mike.
The next day, the boys were back to their regular teasing—until another seventh grader interrupted them. “Come on, guys,” David said. And the teasing stopped.
Another day, it was a ninth-grade girl who stopped the bullies. “That’s not nice, Chris,” Rhoda said. Mike gave her a grateful smile.
I’d like to say that was the end of the teasing. It wasn’t. But the bullies seemed to make mean jokes less often. Other students stood up for Mike too. I knew that the Holy Ghost had given me courage to do what I needed to do to help stop the bullies.
“Look around you for someone who is kind—someone who reminds you of what you think the Savior is like. Watch the things this person does, the way he or she treats other people. … Then, as you treat others kindly and try to do what Jesus would want you to do, you will be filled with that love.” 1
Elder Paul V. Johnson of the Seventy
“Choosing Kindness,” Friend, Jan. 2007, 9.
Illustration by Brad Teare