“The Note,” Friend, Sept. 2003, 5
Tyler turned away from his friends, hoping the recess bell would ring soon. His friends continued to tease Adam, the new boy in their fourth-grade class. Ron and Mike didn’t like Adam because he had pierced ears. Tyler looked for the aide but couldn’t see her anywhere on the playground. He felt heartsick. He knew he should do something to help Adam, but if he did, his friends would turn on him.
After recess, Ron pulled a folded piece of paper out of his pocket. He whispered to Tyler, “I stole Adam’s math assignment. Come with me to the bathroom, and we’ll rip it up.” This wasn’t the first time.
Tyler shook his head. “I have some problems of my own to finish.”
Ron left for the bathroom and came back a few minutes later, smiling.
Tyler closed his eyes while the teacher, Miss Johnson, called for assignments. When she called Adam’s name, he answered, “Unprepared.”
Miss Johnson paused. “Adam, that’s the second missing assignment today. Please go to the principal’s office.”
Tyler slipped lower in his chair as Adam left the room. Tyler had to do something, but what? If he told on Ron and his other friends, they’d tease him and steal his assignments. Miss Johnson would never believe that his homework had been stolen. Neither would his parents.
What bothered Tyler even more was that his friends were members of the Church and were in his Webelos den. They were being terrible examples. Something had to be done.
After school, he didn’t wait for Ron or Mike. He ran straight home. His mother sat at the kitchen table, busy paying bills.
He dropped his backpack down by her chair. “Mom, my friends are bullying a new boy in our class. They’ve told everyone not to play with Adam or sit with him.”
His mother looked up. “I’m sorry to hear that.”
Tyler fidgeted with the straps of his backpack. “If I tell on them or try to do anything to help Adam, they won’t be my friends anymore.”
His mother hugged him. “It sounds like you have a serious problem. That’s why Heavenly Father gave you the gift of the Holy Ghost. Why don’t you ask Heavenly Father what you should do? I’ll support you in whatever you decide.”
Tyler nodded. He went to his room and knelt by his bed. Even though he knew that Heavenly Father knew the whole story, Tyler told Him everything. He explained how bad he felt about what was happening and how scared he was. Then he asked what he should do. He waited for an answer, and an idea came to his mind. Pulling a piece of paper from his desk, he folded it in half, then wrote:
I’m glad you moved to our neighborhood. I’m sorry some of the kids in our class are mean to you, but I want you to know I like you and I’m glad you’re in my class.
Your Secret Friend
Tyler looked at the note. What a strange idea. How could this be the answer to his problem? His stomach tingled with excitement. Tomorrow he’d find out. He would put the letter in Adam’s desk when no one was looking.
The next morning at school, Tyler lagged behind after the recess bell rang. When everyone else had left, he slipped the note into Adam’s desk.
Mike waited for Tyler in the hall. “Let’s hurry. Ron wants us to help him catch Adam.”
A warm feeling inside made Tyler tug on Mike’s arm. “Wait. Do you remember last week in our den meeting when we memorized the Scout Oath?”
“Sure I do.”
“Well, do you remember the part about doing our best to help other people at all times?” Tyler asked.
Mike’s shoulders drooped. “Maybe we should just play basketball instead.”
Tyler smiled as he raced Mike out to the basketball court. When Ron saw them playing basketball, he quit chasing Adam and joined the game.
After recess, Tyler watched as Adam found the note in his desk and read it. Adam sat up taller in his chair and looked around the room. Tyler looked away before Adam saw him watching. Now the letter idea made perfect sense—since Adam didn’t know who gave it to him, he would believe that every member of the class might be his secret friend.
At lunch, Tyler noticed Adam sitting at the end of the bench, alone. The warm feeling inside him made it easy to scoot next to Adam and ask, “Do you have anything you want to trade?”
Adam showed Tyler his lunch: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an orange drink, a roll of fruit leather, and a package of sunflower seeds. “Do you want anything?”
Ron walked up and stood across from Tyler with a scowl on his face. “Why are you sitting next to him?”
“We’re trading,” Tyler answered.
Mike came over and sat down. “I love sunflower seeds. I’ll trade you for my cookies.”
Adam smiled and handed Mike the package of seeds.
When Ron finally sat down by Adam, Tyler gave a silent prayer of thanks to Heavenly Father. He couldn’t wait to tell his mother how the Holy Ghost had helped him. With the Holy Ghost guiding him, he hadn’t been afraid to do what was right.
“We need not fear ridicule. There is a power within us that can rise above ridicule, that can, in fact, even turn it to good.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley, “God Hath Not Given Us the Spirit of Fear,” Ensign, Oct. 1984, 2–5.