Jeans and the Six Bs

By Jane McBride Choate

Listen Download Print Share

Based on a true storyTill I die I will not remove mine integrity from me (Job 27:5).

Alaina could hardly wait to try on the jeans she had bought at a garage sale. The fringed denim pants were exactly what the other girls in her sixth grade class were wearing.

Until she started middle school, she hadn’t minded wearing the second-hand clothes she and her mom found at garage sales. Then she started noticing that the other girls were dressing differently.

Her friends talked constantly about clothes—what was cool, what wasn’t. The jeans, Alaina decided, were definitely cool.

In her room, she pulled on the jeans, happy to find that they fit perfectly. Hearing a crinkling sound, she slipped her hand into a pocket and pulled out a crumpled five-dollar bill.

She stared at it, hardly able to believe her eyes. Five dollars! That would pay for her school field trip to the planetarium next week.

The five-dollar bill was more than just money. It was a way to help her family. Ever since her dad had started his own consulting business last year, money had been tight in her family. They had been eating out of their food storage. A half-smile crossed her face. Alaina and her brothers frequently joked about all the ways her mom had found to serve cracked wheat.

The smile vanished as she recalled President Hinckley’s talk about the Six Bs. Be grateful. Be smart. Be clean. Be true. Be humble. Be prayerful.

Her family had talked about them in family home evening, and one of her friends had given a talk on them in Primary. If she kept the money, she wouldn’t be true—not to herself or to her beliefs. She would not be clean, either. Just the thought of keeping something that didn’t belong to her made her feel itchy. She knew she wouldn’t enjoy wearing the jeans if she kept the money.

Alaina thought of the other Bs. Stealing—and that’s what keeping the money would be—wasn’t being grateful, smart, humble, or prayerful. It went against everything she believed.

She found Mom in the kitchen, putting away the few groceries they’d bought. Mom turned and smiled. “Hey, those look great on you.”

When Alaina didn’t return the smile, Mom gestured to the chairs around the kitchen table. “What’s wrong?” she asked, sitting down. “Don’t you like the jeans?”

Alaina unfolded the five dollar bill and placed it on the table. “I found this in one of the pockets.”

Mom nodded slowly. “What are you going to do with it?”

“Would you take me back to that garage sale? I want to give the money to the girl who sold me the jeans.”

Her mom leaned across the table to give Alaina a quick hug. “I sure will.”

At the garage sale, Alaina handed the money to the girl and explained how she’d found it in the jeans. The girl gave Alaina a puzzled look, then thanked her.

Alaina wore the pants the following Monday. Her friends complimented her on them, and she smiled. Looking good was nice. Feeling good was even better.

[The Bs]

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“Be true to your own convictions. You know what is right, and you know what is wrong. You know when you are doing the proper thing. … Be loyal. Be faithful. Be true.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley
(Ensign, January 2001, page 10.)

Illustrated by Miriam De Rosier