“I’ve got it!” Lindsay yelled as she ran backward. The red rubber ball fell with a whump into her outstretched arms, and her friends cheered. Lindsay loved playing kickball at school. She loved running to kick the ball, rounding the bases, and trying to get home before someone got her out. She also liked catching the ball to get the other team out.
Lindsay looked to see who was next to kick the ball. Molly stood in front of home base, shuffling her feet and looking down at the ground. Long, tangled brown hair hid her face. Her clothes were dirty and didn’t fit, and her shoes had holes in them. Lindsay and Molly were in the same Primary class at church, but they weren’t really friends. Actually, nobody seemed to be friends with Molly. Most of the kids made fun of her, and sometimes Lindsay made fun of her too when Molly wasn’t around.
As Molly waited to kick the ball, some kids started whispering and giggling. The pitcher rolled the ball toward home base. Molly kicked and missed. Some of Lindsay’s teammates cheered while Molly’s team groaned. The pitcher rolled the ball again. Molly ran and kicked as hard as she could—and missed again! This time, Carrie, one of the school bullies, laughed loudly. “She can’t even kick a ball!” she yelled. Lots of other kids joined in the laughter. Carrie and a couple of her friends started yelling mean things about Molly’s hair and clothes and the way she ran.
Molly looked sadder and sadder as more children made fun of her. She seemed to scrunch up inside of herself and wouldn’t look up from the ground. Watching Molly, Lindsay felt sick to her stomach and wanted to make the bullies stop. But what could she do? She thought about the family home evening lesson her mom had given the night before. They had talked about how Heavenly Father loves all of His children and wants them to love each other. She thought about the song they sang: “I’m Trying to Be like Jesus.” Mustering her courage, she called out, “Leave her alone!”
It was suddenly quiet as everyone turned to look at Lindsay. Carrie and her friends stopped laughing, and one of them yelled, “What did you say?”
“I said leave her alone,” Lindsay repeated. “She’s doing her best.” Lindsay held her breath while she waited to see what the girls would do. Carrie and her friends whispered to each other for a minute. Then they started yelling mean things about Lindsay! They made fun of her clothes, her hair, and the way she played kickball. Lindsay started shaking and felt tears drip down her cheeks. Then the bell rang for school to end.
Lindsay ran all the way home and cried as she told her mom what had happened. “Mom, I was trying to be like Jesus and think about Molly like He does. I thought I was choosing the right, but I got made fun of! It’s not fair!”
Her mom stroked her hair. “You did choose the right, honey, and it isn’t fair. But choosing the right doesn’t mean that nothing bad will ever happen to you. Just think about Jesus.”
Lindsay remembered that Jesus had always chosen the right, but people made fun of Him, spit on Him, and even crucified Him. “Then why should I try to be like Him if bad things are going to happen to me?” she asked, wiping away a tear.
Mom hugged her close. “Bad things might happen to you, but I promise you that wonderful things will happen when you follow the Savior,” she explained. “How did you feel when you stood up for Molly?”
“I was scared, but at the same time I felt good inside. I knew I was doing the right thing.” Lindsay started to feel a little better. “You know what, Mom? When those kids were saying all those mean things about me, I thought, ‘This must be how Molly feels a lot of the time.’ And it’s terrible! I’m never going to say mean things about her again.”
Just then the doorbell rang. When Lindsay answered it, she saw Molly standing on the porch, shuffling her feet and looking nervous. “I wanted to thank you for standing up for me during kickball,” she said.
Lindsay’s heart filled with happiness. Suddenly the bullies didn’t seem to matter that much. “You’re welcome,” Lindsay said. “Do you want to stay and play?”
Molly smiled, and Lindsay didn’t notice her clothes or shoes or hair at all. When she looked at her, she only saw a friend.
[Speak Out for the Right]
“Be not afraid to speak out for the right. … Let us defend the weak.” President David O. McKay (1873–1970), in Conference Report, Oct. 1968, 145.