Just like Me?


I was surprised when she asked to sign my yearbook. I was shocked by what she wrote.

It was the day before my high school graduation. The seminary building was packed with students, most of them graduating seniors full of anticipation of the next day’s big event.

It had been a great year for me, and now my high school years were coming to an end. I was standing in a large group of noisy, excited seniors signing yearbooks when a girl I didn’t know asked me if she could sign my book. I thought it was a little unusual, but I shrugged and handed it over. She gave me a big smile and hurried off to a desk in one of the classrooms.

That night as I was looking through my yearbook and smiling at all the things my friends had written, I came to a small paragraph that began, “You don’t know me, but I have been watching you all year.”

I was shocked. I read that sentence over and over. I hadn’t been living my life as if someone might be watching me. I had only been thinking of what a good time I was having. I read on. This girl who had asked to sign my yearbook also wrote that she had noticed how active I was in seminary and that she was determined to be just like me.

While I was proud she had chosen me to admire, what I mostly felt at that moment was a profound sense of relief that I had not unknowingly led her down the wrong path by my actions. Not once during that last year of high school had I considered myself a role model to younger students. But that night when I said my prayers, I thanked Heavenly Father for righteous parents, inspiring teachers, and good friends who had made it easy for me to choose the right.

I never saw that girl again. But I have always remembered the moment she changed my life by asking to sign my yearbook. I have tried since that day to live each minute as though someone is watching—because someone usually is.

[illustration] Illustrated by Dilleen Marsh