“Speaking Kind Words,” Friend, Jan. 1997, 26–27
Grandmother Folger’s house buzzed with excitement. Matt Davis, one of her grandchildren, had just returned home from a mission in New Zealand, and everyone had gathered at Grandmother’s that Sunday afternoon for a family dinner. Eight-year-old Jonathan Pratt had just finished a piece of Grandmother’s chocolate cake and was talking with his cousins. Candace was telling a story.
“And then it broke …”
“Candace! Sometimes you are so stupid!” Jonathan exclaimed. “That’s not how it happened at all!” Candace’s face fell, and she looked down at her hands.
“Jonathan,” a voice warned.
He turned around to see his older sister, Christi. “What? What did I do?”
Christi motioned for Jonathan to come and sit by her. “Jonathan, what did you just say?”
Jonathan sighed. “Well, Candace was telling it wrong.”
“Still, Jonathan, it makes Heavenly Father feel bad when you talk about anyone being stupid or dumb. Not only is Candace your cousin, she is a child of God! Do you think Jesus Christ is happy when you call people ‘stupid’?”
Jonathan knew the answer. “No.”
“Then try not to, OK?”
A few days later Christi was driving through the green hills of Maryland. Jonathan was buckled into the seat beside her. The sun was low in the western sky, and the road was crowded with cars going home from work.
“Hurry, Christi! We’re going to be late for the game. Drive faster!”
“I am doing the best I can, Jonathan. We’re almost there.”
Jonathan craned his neck to see how close to the ballpark they were. Then he looked in the outside mirror and made a funny face at himself.
A red sports car cut in front of them, and Christi had to slam on the brakes. “Whoa!” she exclaimed.
The car buzzed on through a yellow light, leaving Jonathan and Christi stuck at the intersection with a red light.
“Ugh!” Jonathan cried. “Now we’ll be late for sure! That lady is so—”
Christi turned her head to see why Jonathan stopped. “What’s the matter?”
Jonathan shrugged his shoulders.
“Why did you stop?”
“Because I remembered that Jesus Christ doesn’t like it when I talk that way.”