When Madilin Neibert received her school’s citizenship award at the end of her seventh grade year, it took her by surprise. As one of only seven LDS youth in her school, she’d spent a lot of time that year standing up for her beliefs. Some didn’t understand or agree with her, but Madilin learned that she didn’t need to go along with the crowd to earn her friends’ respect.
What gives her strength to stand by her convictions? Madilin quotes a favorite motto, “Be true to who you are and the family name you bear.” She is true not only to her earthly name but also her heavenly identity as a daughter of God.
What was it like to be recognized as a good citizen in your school? I’m really grateful that I got that award. It meant a lot to me because I know I’m doing my part to be a citizen and to be kind to others and to my teachers.
What gives you the courage to stand up for your standards? Listening to my leaders. They tell us every Sunday that we need to make good choices and set the example for others. I also like to think about Esther. She was steadfast. When the odds were against her, she stayed with her beliefs and put her trust in God. Although my situation is not as intense, I identify with Esther because she also had to stand up for what was right.
How has your testimony been strengthened? When I share my testimony with friends at school, it is strengthened by my hearing myself repeat it over and over again. I know that it will be OK if I am different from other people, because I am following the standards of the Church.
What would you tell others in your situation? They can make it through. There’s always going to be someone who will accept them for the right reasons. Just look for those people, and stay friends so that you won’t ever be alone.
How does Heavenly Father bless your life? By giving me a kind family, a really good ward, and the awesome Young Women program. I also feel that I have a lot of opportunities to develop my talents, and because there are not a lot of LDS members in my school, I get lots of opportunities to teach others about the gospel.