“Rowdy to Reverent,” Friend, Jul. 2015, 4–5
Larry loved to jump and run races and ride his bike and climb trees. So when it came time for Primary, he had a hard time sitting still. Every time he sat down in his chair, he felt like standing right back up. He tapped his toes on the floor. He squirmed in his seat. He tugged on his lip.
Sister Valencia showed their class a picture of Jesus and told them some of the special names for Him. “We call Him our Exemplar,” she said. “It’s a big word, but it means someone who’s a good example. What are some ways Jesus was a good example?”
“He was nice to people who were mean to Him!” Chloe said.
“He chose the right!” Philippe said.
“He was a good friend,” Chad said.
“You’re all right,” Sister Valencia said. “Jesus loved His enemies, He always stood up for what’s right, and He was a wonderful friend. So if we want to be like Jesus—“
“—we should be a good friend!” Larry said.
Sister Valencia nodded. “Exactly. Jesus was a good example to everyone because He was a friend to everyone. He wants us to be friends to everyone too.”
At the end of the lesson, the class lined up at the door to walk into sharing time. When they got into the Primary room, another boy was already in the seat where Larry usually sat. Larry knew the boy’s name was Brennan and that he had something called autism. Larry wasn’t sure what that meant, but he knew Brennan had a hard time sitting still and shouted things out when they were supposed to be reverent and sometimes cried loudly. Brennan’s mom usually came in to sit with him. Larry didn’t know Brennan well yet.
Larry slumped down in the chair next to Brennan, feeling a little grumpy that he had to sit in a different seat. Then, when sharing time started, Larry felt his wiggles coming on. He kicked the chair in front of him. Clack! Then he heard another loud clack. Brennan had kicked the chair in front of him too!
Brennan’s mom softly asked Brennan to be quiet.
Larry bounced up and down on his chair. Brennan bounced too. Larry looked at Brennan and sighed loudly. Brennan sighed louder. Why was Brennan copying everything he was doing?
Larry made a mean face at Brennan and leaned away. Brennan copied him, twisting his mouth into an ugly frown. Larry looked at him in surprise. Is that what Larry’s face looked like? He didn’t like seeing such a mean face glaring at him like that. He didn’t like it at all!
Suddenly Larry remembered what Sister Valencia had said about Jesus being an example and a friend. Jesus wouldn’t make a mean face at Brennan, Larry thought. Jesus would help Brennan. Larry decided to give it a try.
He stopped kicking the chair—and Brennan stopped kicking too. He folded his arms—and Brennan folded his arms too. He turned his head and faced the teacher—and out of the corner of his eye, he saw Brennan face the front too. Larry grinned.
During singing time Larry sang with his best voice and heard Brennan singing loud too. Brennan’s mom smiled at Larry with a smile that lit up her whole face. Larry felt warm inside. He could be like Jesus!—an example and a friend.