“And Not for Adam’s Transgression,” Friend, Feb. 1996, 38
Sarah watched in horror as milk raced across her place mat. Just before the white liquid reached the edge of the table, she grabbed the tablecloth and lifted it up. “Mommy, help!” she shouted. Sarah’s anxious tug stopped the milk from pouring off her side of the table, but it tipped her own bowl, sending milk and cereal flowing off the other side.
Mom came running into the kitchen. “Oh, Sarah! Why can’t you be more careful?”
Sarah began to cry. “It wasn’t my fault,” she sobbed. “Adam did it.”
Mom looked at little Adam, who was sitting on the floor, playing with a toy truck. He looked up and smiled.
“You expect me to believe that Adam crawled up onto the chair, dumped your glass and bowl on the table, then crawled down before I got here?” Mom asked angrily. “I know that accidents can happen, but lying about this only makes it worse. Go to your room. I’ll be in to talk to you when I have everything cleaned up. And I want you to think about how you would feel if someone told a lie about you.”
Sarah climbed down. “I didn’t lie!” She muttered as she walked to her room.
Mom looked down at Adam. “Oh, Adam, what do you think I should do?” Smiling a big toothless grin, Adam stretched his arms toward Mom, signaling that he wanted her to pick him up.
“Just a minute, little one.” As Mom started to clear the table, the tablecloth swayed back and forth. Adam was fascinated by it. Reaching up, he grabbed it and pulled. Sarah’s spoon fell to the floor.
“Oh dear,” Mom said, picking up the spoon. “I think I made a big mistake. It was your fault, wasn’t it?”
She picked Adam up and hurried to Sarah’s room. Sarah was on her bed, her face buried in the pillow.
Setting Adam on the floor, Mom sat down beside her daughter and gently stroked her hair. “I think I owe you an apology.”
Sarah sat up.
“Did Adam pull on the tablecloth?” Mom asked.
Sarah nodded. “I tried to stop the milk, but I couldn’t, and it went everywhere. But it wasn’t my fault, honest.”
Mom put her arm around Sarah. “I’m sorry. I should have let you explain. And I shouldn’t have accused you of lying to me. Will you forgive me?”
Sarah nodded again.
Mom reached over to Sarah’s dresser and picked up the picture of Jesus with the Articles of Faith on the back. Turning it over, she asked, “Remember the article of faith that says ‘We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression?’”
“That’s the second one,” Sarah announced proudly.
“You’re right. It means that we are responsible only for the things that we do. I scolded you for something the baby did. I was punishing you for Adam’s transgression!”
They both laughed. Hearing his name, Adam looked up and laughed too.