Sunday, January 31, 2010


Michael, one of my boys who is a little more rambunctious than some, can jump back and forth between being the sweetest kid in the world to being a total hellion. At least you never have to wonder which one it is. You will always know what he is up to. There's no sneaking around or hiding emotions with him.

I had been teaching a Sunday lesson a few months ago where most of the boys were being rowdier than normal. After trying to ignore them or redirect their conversation for as long as I could stand it, I finally blew my top a little. Now, with me, that's actually a pretty rare occurrence, and a calculated one at that. That is, I'll let the anger loose a little for show.

So I let them have it, sucked out any spirit that was left in our quorum meeting, and started trying to get back into the lesson. A few minutes later, Michael was the one who had the misfortune to be the first to act out of line again, and I actually did let it go. My patience had been worn down enough, and with the spirit gone as it was, I harshly told him he was dismissed from the class.

He actually looked a little scared as he left the room, and the Bishop's counselor followed him out to talk to him for a minute. I felt bad the rest of the meeting. I saw his dad in the hall after church and told him what happened, just so he'd have my explanation of what happened before he got Michael's explanation.

After talking to his dad, I immediately biked over to his house, which is just a couple blocks from the church, and apologized to him. I can't really even remember what I said, just something about appreciating him in our quorum, and I shouldn't have kicked him out, and we can work together, etc. He seemed to be okay with it.

Over the next month or so, nothing seemed to be much different one way or another, other than I was still feeling bad. Then I was sitting next to him in quorum meeting several weeks later when someone else was teaching. The whole time we were making little jokes back and forth about whatever, to the point that we would just look at each other and start laughing. I kept it under control as much as possible, disrupting the class as little as possible, but there was a little bond forged there. Ever since then, he often says things about how he wants to sit by me so we can joke around or that we know what each other is thinking without even having to say anything.

We learn in Scouts and elsewhere that as teams and relationships develop, something that really bonds people is going through hard things together. Never stressing or testing a relationship means that the relationship has never been properly forged to begin with.

While down inside I still feel bad for kicking Michael out of class that day, I know he doesn't. He would say something if he did, since you always knows what he's thinking, good or bad. I've also grown to respect him more than I did before. Having worked through some frustration with him and seeing the ease with which he could forgive and forget, he has been an example to me.

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