“Our Family,” Friend, Sept. 1995, 46
Mitzi stormed out of the family council, ran up the stairs two at a time, and threw herself on her bed. What’s the big deal, anyway? she wondered. So I let a little trash word slip out. Did I need to hear the five-dollar lecture? Well, it hadn’t really been a lecture. Her dad would probably call it a reminder; but it was the same old line. “Honey, in our family we don’t use those kinds of words.”
Right—and “in our family we don’t wear those kinds of clothes,” as if there’s something sinful about a tank top or a bare midriff. And “in our family we don’t watch that kind of TV program.” Oh, yes, and “in our family we don’t talk back to our parents.”
Well, she had talked back to her dad this time; but before he’d had a chance to answer, her four-year-old brother had piped in. “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”
That’s when Mitzi had yelled, “Shut up, you little smart aleck,” and run from the room. She could only imagine her mother saying, “In our family, we don’t say shut up.”
Why does our family have to be so old fashioned, anyway? Why can’t we ever do anything fun and exciting? Into Mitzi’s mind popped the memory of last summer’s vacation—a camping trip by Crystal Creek. They had hiked and fished and stayed up late around the campfire, laughing and telling stories.
Mitzi pushed those thoughts out of her mind. She wanted to stay angry for a while, to feel picked on and misunderstood and unloved. Even so, she remembered the family roller-skating together a couple of weeks ago. They had all laughed at Mom because she was so shaky at first, but she was soon zooming around with the rest of them.
Downstairs the home evening had progressed from the family council to the lesson to refreshments. Mitzi could smell popcorn, and she was pretty sure that Mother would be fixing caramel to pour over it.
Her anger had mostly melted away, and now she was trying to figure out a way to say she was sorry to her brother and parents. She went to the bathroom and splashed cold water on her red eyes. Then she paused for a moment to whisper a prayer to ask Heavenly Father to forgive her and help her. She slipped quietly downstairs.
“It’s good to know,” she said to her father, “that in our family we forgive people who do stupid things.”
Dad reached out and pulled her into the world’s warmest hug.