When I began high school, I was a shy and timid teenager. I set goals to combat my shyness and even decided to run for class president.
Running for office represented everything that frightened me, including speaking in front of my peers and setting myself up for possible failure. But after I survived the primary elections and became a final candidate, my confidence began to grow and I found myself actually enjoying the experience. What I didn’t know was that I was about to experience a much different challenge.
The day before the final elections I stayed after school to hang up a few campaign posters. As I rounded a corner, I was shocked and hurt to see one of my election opponents and her friend tearing down my posters and leaving them strewn on the floor. In anger I reached up to tear down one of her posters. But then I remembered another goal I had set for myself, a goal to be more like the Savior. What would He want me to do?
I dropped my hands and strode up to my opponent. She tensed and was ready for a confrontation. I surprised her by wishing her luck in the election. Blushing, she whispered, “Thank you” as I walked away.
Looking back on that incident now, I’m glad I didn’t follow my first impulse to retaliate. Tearing down my opponent’s posters would only have caused contention and cost me my self-respect. Christ’s example isn’t always easy to follow, but if we strive to do so we can avoid painful mistakes.
I did end up winning that election. But even if I hadn’t, I would still be able to look back on the choice I made that day in the hallway without regret.