Speaking Up
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“Speaking Up,” Friend, August 2019

Speaking Up

The author lives in Colorado, USA.

Would Mrs. Gomez listen to what Jonathan had to say?

“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” (Exodus 20:7).

Friend Magazine, 2019/08 Aug

Illustrations by Scott Saguibo

Jonathan sighed as he moved his food around his plate with his fork.

Paseme la ensalada, por favor,” his sister Jasmine said. Mom passed the salad to Jasmine across the table.

Muy bien,” said Mom. “You’re getting pretty good at Spanish.”

“I’m sure trying!” Jasmine said. “I’m glad Jonathan is in class with me. I learn a lot by hearing him speak.”

“Thanks,” Jonathan said.

“What? Don’t you mean gracias?” teased Jasmine.

“Sorry, I guess I’m just not in the mood right now,” Jonathan said.

“Is everything OK?” Dad asked.

Jonathan sighed again. “Well, I like Spanish, and our teacher is really nice. But she uses Heavenly Father’s name to swear a lot.”

“Yeah,” Jasmine said. “I’ve noticed that too.”

“It makes me feel sad,” said Jonathan. “I’ve been thinking about talking to her about it.”

“That’s a great idea,” Dad said. “I know Heavenly Father will help you know what to say.”

Later that night, Jonathan prayed about talking to his teacher. He wanted to talk to her about it, but he felt so nervous! What if she got angry? Jonathan asked Heavenly Father to help him talk to his teacher in a good way.

The next morning, Jonathan and Jasmine hurried off to school. Spanish was the first class of the day and went by quickly. Before Jonathan knew it, it was time to pack up his books. The other students started walking to their next class, but Jonathan hung back. Mrs. Gomez was erasing the board.

“Mrs. Gomez?”

“Oh, Jonathan, I didn’t know you were still here,” Mrs. Gomez said, turning around. “Can I help you with something?”

Jonathan said a silent prayer in his heart. Please help me know what to say.

“I wanted to say thanks for being a great Spanish teacher,” Jonathan said. “Jasmine and I are learning a lot, and we even talk to each other in Spanish at home.”

“I’m so glad to hear that,” Mrs. Gomez said.

“There’s just one thing,” said Jonathan. His stomach did a flip-flop.

Mrs. Gomez smiled kindly. “What is it?”

“Sometimes in class you swear with Heavenly Father’s name, and it makes me feel sad.”

Everything was quiet for a second. When Mrs. Gomez spoke, she didn’t sound angry at all. “I’m so glad you told me. I didn’t even realize I was doing that. I will work on not saying that anymore.”

Jonathan’s nervousness melted away. He gave Mrs. Gomez a big smile. “Thank you.”

Mrs. Gomez smiled back at him. “Thank you for having the courage to come talk to me. It’s not easy to talk to a teacher about something like this. But you did it in such a respectful and mature way. I’m proud of you.”

Jonathan felt happy as he walked out of the classroom. It hadn’t been easy to talk to Mrs. Gomez, but Heavenly Father had answered his prayer. The Holy Ghost had helped him know what to say. And maybe Mrs. Gomez had felt the Holy Ghost touch her heart too.

Gracias, Heavenly Father. Jonathan said another prayer in his heart. Muchas gracias.

What if people don’t stop swearing?

Sometimes people keep swearing, even after we ask them to stop. Or we’re in a situation where we can’t ask others to stop. Here are some things you can do:

  • Hum a Primary song or say a silent prayer.

  • Think of a scripture.

  • Set an example of using kind words.

  • Always treat others with kindness and respect, like Jesus did.