A Friendly Experiment

“A Friendly Experiment,” Friend, July 2006, 28–30

A Friendly Experiment

(Based on a true story)

A special gift is kindness. Such happiness it brings (Children’s Songbook, 145).

“What are you doing, Mommy?” Madolyn asked as she sat down in the kitchen.

Mom rummaged through a box and placed a pile of books on the table. “I’m going through all of these books so we can put them on the new bookshelves.”

Madolyn grabbed a book with a bright orange cover. “I remember this story,” she said. She thumbed through the pages of the picture book.

“I need to organize all of these magazines too,” Mom said as she set some magazines next to the books.

“Wow, look at all of these!” Madolyn picked up a pile of some Friend magazines. She held up one with a picture of Jesus and some children on the cover. “Can I read this one?” she asked.

Mom looked at the magazine. “This is from before you were even born.”

“Can I have it?” Madolyn asked.


A few days later while Mom was making dinner, Madolyn said, “Mommy, I read a great story in this Friend.* She held up the old magazine. “It’s about an experiment.”

“What kind of experiment?”

Madolyn opened the magazine and pointed to a picture. “This boy decided to try hard to be nice and not get angry easily. I think Logan, Savannah, and I should try something like that.” She tapped her finger on her forehead. “We’ll try hard to be like Jesus this week. We’ll try not to argue when we play together, and we’ll try to be better examples for each other. We won’t tell the older kids or Dad and see if they can guess what we’re doing.” Madolyn’s smile stretched across her face.

Mom gave Madolyn a squeeze, and said, “That’s a great idea!”

The next night at family scripture study, Clayton, the oldest brother, said, “Savannah, I noticed you’re being extra reverent tonight.” Savannah just smiled and looked over at Madolyn.

One evening after family prayer, Angela, the oldest sister, said, “You all listened to the prayer really well tonight.” Logan, Savannah, and Madolyn all grinned.

Saturday at dinner, Dad said to the younger children, “I’m glad that you all shared your toys today, and played together nicely.” The three children giggled.

When family home evening came, their sister, Rachel, asked, “What’s going on with the little ones?”

“What do you mean?” Mom asked.

“They’ve all been extra reverent and nice for the last few days,” Rachel said.

“I’ve noticed that too,” Dad said.

Madolyn covered her mouth but her big smile peeked out from behind her hand.

“Why don’t you tell the rest of the family, Madolyn,” Mom said.

“We decided to try to be like Jesus for a week, like a boy in a story I read in an old Friend magazine,” Madolyn said.

“We tried to not fight too much,” Logan said.

“And tried to be reverent during prayer and scripture study,” Savannah said.

“I think our experiment turned out very well!” declared Madolyn with a great big smile. And everyone agreed.


Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

“Kindness should permeate all of our words and actions at work, at school, at church, and especially in our homes.”
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “The Virtue of Kindness,” Ensign, May 2005, 26.

Illustrated by Brad Teare