Each young man will treat others with kindness and respect.
Scriptures for each young man.
Pencils for marking scriptures.
Prepare a copy of John 13:34–35 for everyone in the class.
Review the counsel about friends given on pages 12–13 of
For the Strength of Youth.
Suggested Lesson Development
We Should Treat Others Kindly
Share the following story with the young men:
“Andy was a sweet, amusing little guy whom everyone liked but heckled just because that was the way one treated Andy Drake. He took the kidding well and always smiled back with those great big eyes which seemed to say, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you,’ with each sweeping blink. When any of us … needed to vent our frustrations, Andy was our whipping boy, yet he seemed grateful to pay this special price for membership in our group. …
“… It’s plain now that our attitude was that it was our right for the rest of us to belong to the group but that Andy was there by our sufferance. We all really liked Andy, though, until that day—until that very moment.
“‘He’s different! We don’t want him, do we?’ Which one of us said it? … I can’t honestly say that I remember who said it, who spoke those words that brought out the savagery lying dormant in all of us. It doesn’t matter, because the fervor with which we all took up the cry revealed us. …
“This weekend was to be like so many others the group had enjoyed together. After school on Friday, we would meet at one of our homes—this time mine—for a campout in the nearby woods. Our mothers, who did most of the preparations for these [outings], always fixed an extra sack for Andy, who joined us after chores.
“… The others told me that since it was my party I should be the one to let Andy know that he wasn’t invited—I, who had long believed that Andy secretly thought a little more of me than the others because when he looked at me, he was very much like a pup trying to reveal all his loyalty with [his] eyes. I enjoyed that.
“I can still see Andy as he came toward us down the long, dark tunnel of trees which leaked only enough of the late evening light to kaleidoscope changing designs on his old sweat shirt. He was on his old, rusty bike, a girl’s model, with garden hose wired to the rims for tires. He appeared happier than I had ever seen him, this little guy who had been an adult all his life and who was finding in the group his first chance to relax and have a little fun.
“He waved to me as I stood in the camp clearing. I ignored his greeting. He climbed off his bike and trotted over to me, full of conversation. The others, well-concealed inside the tent, were completely quiet, but I could almost hear them listening.
“Why won’t he get serious? Can’t he see that I am not returning his gaiety? Can’t he see by now that his babblings aren’t reaching me? Then suddenly he did see; his innocent countenance opened ever more, leaving him totally vulnerable. His whole demeanor said, ‘It’s going to be very bad, isn’t it? Let’s have it.’ Undoubtedly well-practiced in facing disappointments, he didn’t even brace for the blow.
“Incredulously I heard myself say, ‘Andy, we don’t want you.’ Hauntingly vivid still is the stunning quickness with which two huge tears sprang into his eyes and just stayed there—vivid because I have had a million maddening reruns of the scene in my mind. This way he looked at me—frozen for an eternal moment—what was it? It wasn’t hate. Was it shock, unbelief, or—was it pity for me?
“Finally, a fleet little tremor broke across his lips, and he turned away without protest. …
“And then it was unanimous. No vote taken, no word spoken, but we all knew. We knew that we had done something horribly, cruelly wrong. We had destroyed an individual made in the image of God with the only weapon against which he had no defense—rejection” (Ben F. Burton, from Today’s Education, the Journal of the National Education Association, January 1967; used by permission).
How do you think Andy must have felt? (Sad, worthless, lonely, discouraged, hopeless.)
How do you think the other boys felt? (Guilty, ashamed, mean, selfish, sad.)
How might this rejection affect Andy?
Scripture and discussion
When the Savior was on the earth, he showed us how to treat others. When we are in doubt about how to act towards another person—friend, enemy, or stranger—what guide can we follow?
To find the answer, ask the young men to turn to John 13:34–35 and read it silently.
What does Jesus tell us to do?
Explain that if we truly love the Savior, we will love one another. We can show this love by treating everyone kindly. If we say we love Jesus Christ but do not love others, we are not his true disciples.
If the other boys in the story had been kind to Andy, how might the story have ended?
Have you ever been in a situation similar to Andy’s and had someone treat you kindly? How did it make you feel?
If there is someone in the class who is not active, perhaps partly because he is different and is not well accepted by his peers, this may be an excellent time to discuss the situation. Ask the young men to commit themselves to follow Jesus’ teaching and reach out to less-active young men.
Young Men Who Are Kind Gain the Respect and Love of Others
Tell the young men to answer the following questions silently. Emphasize that the young men must be honest with themselves.
How do you feel when someone compliments you on the things you do?
What makes you feel worthwhile?
Do you want others to appreciate you sincerely?
Do you want others to recognize you as being someone of worth?
How can a young man receive the love and respect he desires? (Those who are consistently kind to others gain the love and respect of others—and they feel good about themselves.)
Case studies and discussion
Present the following case studies:
Case Study 1
Tim had his own group of friends—Jeff, Chad, Matt, and Dave. They were always doing things together at school and at church. Of course there was an occasional disagreement, but it would quickly be resolved, and the boys would all be friends again. That is, until Bill moved into the ward. Tim noticed Bill the first Sunday he was there and said hello to him. But the rest of the boys were not as quick to befriend Bill. They just did not want him to be part of their group. Gradually, Bill became more and more friendly with Tim. Tim became aware that the rest of the boys were having less and less to do with him. He realized that it was because he had been trying to make Bill feel welcome.
If you were Tim or Bill, how would you feel?
What would the Savior want you to do? Why?
Case Study 2
Rob played his best, but still his team lost the game—not by much, but they did lose. As the boys on Rob’s team were talking to each other after the game, Rob heard one of them say, “If Paul hadn’t been on our team, we would have won. Paul’s so clumsy he trips over his own feet.” Rob looked around to see if Paul had heard the remark. Paul was gathering up the game equipment nearby, and Rob really didn’t know if Paul heard the criticism or not.
If Paul had heard the remarks, what might his reaction be? How would he feel?
How could these hurt feelings be avoided?
How can one unkind act lead to another?
Ask the young men to suggest several ways they could treat others more kindly at home, school, or church. You may want to share a relevant personal experience in which someone was kind to you by helping you through an embarrassing or difficult situation by being considerate.
Invite the young men to share relevant experiences if they wish.
Explain that we never outgrow our need to follow the Savior’s example in loving one another, no matter how important we may think we are. We should always treat others with kindness and respect.
Story and discussion
Share the following story of the kindness a prophet of God showed to a traveling companion:
“From the very start of our journey, I was moved by President Kimball and Sister Kimball’s concern for the others traveling with them. When my wife and I boarded the airplane in Salt Lake City, we took seats to the side and in back of President Kimball. A few minutes after the plane took off and the seat belt sign was turned off, President Kimball turned around and said to us, ‘Are you comfortable?’ I was there to serve him and the others traveling with him, and yet he showed this concern for us. Throughout the entire trip this great, kind, friendly man was always interested in the welfare of the people around him. We felt so comfortable traveling with him because of his warmth and graciousness” (James O. Mason, “Traveling with a Missionary Prophet,” New Era, Oct. 1977, p. 6).
Is kindness to others a habit that can be learned? How?
Kindness to Others Shows Our Love for the Savior
Quotation and discussion
Explain the following situation:
For a youth conference, several young men were asked to take part in planning and giving a workshop called “The Worth of Service.” It was based on the theme “The little things.” They decided they must really live the message in order to give it to others, so for several months before the conference, they tried to give service by doing little things—for their families, neighbors, friends, bishop, and others. One of the young men on the committee bore the following testimony.
“I was used to praying each day, ‘Father, help me to have a good day.’ One day I decided that that was a rather selfish way of praying. I felt impressed that I would like to do something for Heavenly Father, so rather than asking, ‘Help me to have a good day,’ I asked Heavenly Father, ‘How can I help thee to have a good day today? What can I do for thee today? How can I make thee happy today?’
“And then the words came into my mind so clearly and so beautifully. ‘If you want to make me happy today, go out and find someone who needs you and do something for him. If you want to make me happy today, obey my commandments.’
“Making Heavenly Father happy is simply doing just that—serving his children and living his commandments.”
How does treating others with kindness and respect show love for our Father in Heaven?
Ask the young men to think about acts of kindness in light of these two scriptures and to be kind whenever the opportunity arises. Remind them that the best opportunities might come up at home with members of their own family or with people they presently don’t know very well or like very much.
Review the counsel given about friends on pages 12–13 of