“Gweg Greg,” Friend, Mar. 1996, 2
“Hi, Gweg!” Greg could feel his face getting hot even before he looked up to see Melissa standing on the roadside by her bike.
“My name’s not Gweg,” he said crossly, focusing intently again on the basketball hoop he was aiming at.
“What is it, then?” Melissa waited expectantly, her eyes already dancing with laughter.
“You know what it is.”
“Yep. It’s Gweg; that’s what you always say.” She started to giggle.
“My name’s not Gweg,” Greg yelled. “It’s Gweg!”
Melissa burst into laughter and hopped back on her bike. “I was right, then. Bye, Gweggy!”
Greg scowled at her braids streaming out behind her as she pedaled away. It wasn’t fair! He tried and tried to say his Rs, using the exercises that his speech therapist gave him every week. But even though she praised him at the end of each session and told him that he was doing better, he still couldn’t say the words quite right. Worst of all, he couldn’t even say his own name!
“Well, at least we didn’t name you Roger or Roderick,” Dad had chuckled, tousling Greg’s hair. “Don’t worry, Son. Lots of kids have trouble with their Rs, and sometimes other letters too. You’ll get over it.”
But Greg did worry. The Primary president had asked him to tell the story of Joshua in two weeks. He loved to hear about how the children of Israel were led into the Promised Land, and he wanted to do a good job telling it. But what if everyone laughed at him?
The next Sunday at dinner, Greg was quiet as he pushed the food around his plate with his fork. He usually loved Mom’s mashed potatoes; the rich gravy he poured over the top looked like brown lava sliding down a snowy volcano. But gravy lava seemed stupid now, and his food stuck in his throat.
“Is something wrong, Greg?” Mom asked.
Greg nodded soundlessly.
“Is it your Primary talk?” said Dad.
He nodded again.
“Well, I have something to show you.” Dad disappeared into the living room and returned with his Bible. “You know, Greg,” he said, flipping through the pages, “when I was your age, I didn’t like to give talks either, but for a different reason. All those people made me nervous! My mouth got as dry as sandpaper, and I felt like I couldn’t say anything. Then I read about Moses. Here.” He handed the open Bible to Greg. “When you’ve finished your dinner, why don’t you read about how Moses felt when the Lord told him to speak to the people and to Pharaoh. It might help.”
Later, Greg read in Exodus how the Lord appeared to Moses and told him to tell the children of Israel His words. In Exodus 4:10 [Ex. 4:10], Greg read that Moses had said, “But I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.”
Greg kept reading, using the footnotes. In Exodus 6:30 [Ex. 6:30], he saw that Moses was still protesting to the Lord: “Behold, I am of stammering lips, and slow of speech; how shall Pharaoh hearken unto me?”
Greg was astonished. So Moses, the mighty prophet, couldn’t speak very well, either! But the Lord didn’t find another prophet to replace him. He knew that Moses, whom He had called to serve as the Israelite leader, was a righteous man, and He made a way for Moses to do what he had been commanded by sending Aaron to help him. Well, I have lots of people to help me—people like Dad and Mom. A warm, peaceful feeling crept over him. They can help me learn to say my Rs right someday, and I know that the Lord will help me give my talk!
All the next week, Greg practiced and practiced until he knew the whole story by heart. When Sunday finally arrived, he was a little nervous, but he felt ready. He stood at the microphone, took a deep breath, and gave his talk. He still couldn’t say his Rs quite right, and he thought that he heard a giggle from the back of the room. When he sat down, though, he felt good inside. He knew that he had told the story well.
Dad and Mom had come to hear him, and when Primary was over, they both gave him a big hug. “We’re very proud of you,” Mom said, beaming; Dad said, “Way to go, sport.”
Suddenly Greg felt someone cuff his arm playfully. He looked around and saw Melissa standing there. “Good job, Greg,” she said, grinning.
“Thanks,” he said. And he couldn’t help grinning too.