I have garden plenty today. I picked a basket so full I could hardly carry it in to the house. It’s been a nice summer for our garden.
I read this story at LDS Living…
When I was young, I would often hear these two lines spoken by adults:
“Kids will be kids.”
“Kids can be cruel.”
After reading this, I thought of the times when I might have been the bully as a child/teenager. I’m sure I had my moments, for which I’m not proud as an adult.
Then, I thought about the times I was at the other end. In fact, I was probably the recipient more than the giver. I actually stopped wanting to go to Primary as a kid in Pocatello after nearly having my eye put out by a rock packed in a snowball. Later, right before my 14th birthday, another young man at Mutual broke my arm. It was a serious break. I didn’t stop going to Mutual however. Two very serious injuries – one caused me to stop attending, the other did not.
Since then I have seen many people for various reasons stop going to church. I’m not privilege to why, but I would hope it was not because of bullies or intimidation. Sometimes, I think people perceive things wrongly, and stop coming.
Not to long ago, some very serious things happened in my life. I made up my mind I would not let that stop me from coming to church. Yet, my perception of certain events leads me to wonder if some members of my ward severed communications with me because of their perception of me as a result of what little they knew about the circumstances. In any event, I realize that is a pity because their judgment only harms their soul — not mine.
It’s sad when church members pass judgment, as do kids who tease or bully, when we’re taught to love one another. It’s sad when we don’t embrace that person and take them under our wing. I realize it makes us feel uncomfortable.
Years ago I decided to befriend a young man who, let’s just say, was different. Members of my ward noticed, but that’s not why I became his friend. My new friend was a good young man and in spite of all his challenges he was pretty cheerful. One day, he did something at church that was socially awkward. It wasn’t wrong, it just made some people feel uncomfortable, and perhaps a little embarrassed.
After church a ward leader came up to me and suggested that it was my job to instruct this young man that what he did wasn’t acceptable. I thought for a few seconds and then said, “Wait,” as the man started to walk away. I then added something to the effect, “you know, you’re perfectly capable of talking to him. What he did didn’t bother me as much as it obviously bothers you. Perhaps he would like to hear it from you directly.”
The article I referenced early had a few “to do” items, but let me suggest some others.
- If someone doesn’t quite “fit in”, personally make an effort to learn their name.
- When you see them, smile, call them by name, and talk to them.
- Ask if they are going to be at ward socials. And, when you see them at ward socials, smile and say, “Hi”, and call them by name.
- Encourage others to involve them in activities.
I will never forget my friend. He was assigned to be my home teaching companion not long after meeting him. he was the best home teaching companion I’ve ever had. Our families welcomed him and he took his calling as a home teacher seriously.
No, there’s no reason at all for making people feel unwelcome, unwanted or unloved.