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Saturday
May122012

To Say or Not to Say

The Scenario:

Craig was not impressed. The very first thing Mr. Merv did as the replacement team leader was run after wiry, opposing team-member Skip, leaving the flag wide open for capture. If Craig hadn't doubled his efforts and run back on defense, Sue would have surely grabbed the flag and returned it to her base, no doubt skipping and whistling all the way. Skip and Sue's "Rabbit-Decoy Maneuver" was the oldest trick in the book, and thanks to Mr. Merv, their team was a hair away from humiliating defeat.

Craig thought about it for a few moments and decided that in the absence of the usual, experienced team leader, Mr. Frank, something needed to be done to "save" their game of Capture the Flag before it was too late. Mr. Merv obviously hadn't had much recent experience.

"Mr. Merv!" Craig said loudly. "You go to the middle of the field and keep an eye on Sue. I'll stay here and guard."

Mr. Merv answered, "Well, I'd like to remain here, because we're on a slight hill and I can see the entire field from here."

"It's okay. Mr. Frank never needs to stand at the flag to be able to see all the kids. Quick, get to the middle before Sue comes around!"

However, before Mr. Merv could respond, Skip came running from the left flank, sliding past the rear of the circle with his arm reaching for the flag. Craig and Mr. Merv turned to look behind them, and at that very moment Sue came rushing in from behind at full speed. Skip and Sue collided and landed in a pile directly on top of the flag.

There was a moment of silence as Skip and Sue picked themselves up.

"Maybe we should stop and pray," Mr. Merv said.

Craig jumped forward. "Jesus, bless and heal them and help them not to be rough. In Jesus' name, amen," he said in a quick, monotone voice. "You're both caught, now go to jail. We only have fifteen minutes left, so Mr. Merv, you stay here and guard. I'll go for an attack."

Mr. Merv couldn't get in a word edgewise, and Craig was soon halfway across the field, contemplating his strategy. Craig spied the opposing team’s flag, and to his amazement it was completely unguarded. Losers, he thought as he snatched the flag, and gleefully sped toward his base, still wondering why he wasn't meeting opposition.

As he came closer to his team's base, he noticed everyone was still huddled around the flag area praying.

"All right, everyone, this is not going well," Craig interrupted. He felt distinctly annoyed. "Line up and I'll decide on the teams. Let's go, people! Move, move!"

Question: I have lots of good ideas, and sometimes I think I need to tell my teachers and parents about them. Is that okay?

Jesus: I've given you gifts and talents, and I've made you smart. As you get older, you'll find yourself increasingly capable of coming up with good ideas for yourself and for your friends, and it’s wonderful when you put your gifts and talents to good use.

However, part of growing up is also learning how to use what I have given you. A mature individual knows how to be prayerful and respectful about presenting his or her ideas, and it takes time to learn how to do that. In fact, being humble and respectful toward your teachers and parents is a definite sign of maturity.

Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath (James 1:19). (AKJV) 


Question: But what if I'm pretty sure I'm right and that my parent or teacher is doing something wrong? Isn't it my duty to speak up and make it right?

Jesus: Yes, you should speak up if you have ideas or feel that something is wrong, but you also need to learn to do it the right way. Make it a goal to learn to speak in humility and with respect for your elders.

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves (Philippians 2:3 ESV).  

Even if the point you want to bring out is right, you're putting yourself in the wrong if you're making your point in a proud and disrespectful way. No matter how good you think your point is, if you're not communicating it in a loving and respectful manner, it's just not right. Ask Me to help you put more importance on showing loving respect than on simply being right.

It's also important to remember that no matter what your opinion may be, there's always the chance that you are wrong, or that you don’t see or understand the full issue. If you make an effort to remember that, you'll be more humble and open in your conversation and presentation.

Question: Well, sometimes I get the idea that some of my elders just don't know as much about something as I do. In fact, I sometimes think that I know a lot more than some of them. So why would I have to go out of my way to respect and obey them?

Jesus: I've made you smart, but you're still young, and you have a lot to learn. Your parents and teachers have been around a lot longer and know more than you do about life in general.

When you’re young, it's easy to focus on some of the faults and failings of your elders. There might be certain things you understand or know better than they do. Maybe you know more about some electronic gadgets because you've used them so much.

But what's often more difficult to notice is that those who are older than you have accumulated more wisdom and knowledge about life in general, which is very important—perhaps more so than scholastic knowledge or physical speed and agility.

You need to learn to look past what you’re currently upset about, which will fade from your memory pretty quickly. Instead focus on what you can learn from your interactions with your parents and teachers, which are lessons that can do you good for your whole life. Get truly smart—learn as much as you can from your elders!

Remember to ask Me to help you put more importance on showing loving respect than on simply being right. 

S&S link: Character Building: Social Skills: Respect-2c; Character Building: Social Skills: Communication and Interaction-2d

Authored by R. A. Watterson. Illustrations by David Komic.
Copyright © 2012 by The Family International

Downloads

DOC: To Say or Not to Say (Portuguese)
DOC: To Say or Not to Say (Spanish)