Brave on the Bus
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    “Brave on the Bus,” Friend, February 2020

    Brave on the Bus

    Natalie took a deep breath and walked up to the bus driver.

    Friend Magazine, 2020/02 Feb

    Illustration by Kellan Stover

    Natalie laid her head on the back of her seat and looked out the window. She tried to focus on the houses and cars flashing past. But it wasn’t easy. A bunch of older kids at the back of the bus were saying bad words again. Loudly. And it wasn’t just swear words, either. The things they were talking about were not things Natalie wanted to hear.

    Natalie wasn’t the only one who felt uneasy. Her friend Katy frowned and stared down at her hands. Thomas looked at Natalie and shrugged his shoulders. The bad language was bothering all of them!

    Natalie peeked back at the older kids. Then she hurried and turned around before anyone saw her. She could ask them to stop, but that thought made her stomach flip-flop. It probably wouldn’t do much good anyway.

    She decided to pray instead.

    Dear Heavenly Father, she silently prayed. Please make them stop.

    Natalie finished her prayer and waited. Nothing happened. The older kids kept saying the same bad words. Katy was still staring at her hands. Thomas still looked uncomfortable. Why didn’t Heavenly Father do something? Why didn’t He make them stop saying those bad words?

    Please, Heavenly Father, she prayed silently.

    Then a thought came into Natalie’s mind: Talk to the bus driver.

    She scrunched up her nose. Talk to the bus driver? What if he yelled at her? What if the older kids saw her and made fun of her?

    The thought came again. Talk to the bus driver.

    Natalie felt a peaceful feeling.

    Help me be brave, Heavenly Father, she prayed. As the bus pulled up to her stop, Natalie took a deep breath and walked up to the bus driver.

    “Mr. Avery?”

    “Yeah?”

    “Um … some of the older kids in the back are saying really bad words,” Natalie said quietly. But then she felt a little braver. Her voice was a little stronger. “It makes other kids and me uncomfortable. Is there something you could do about it? Please?”

    Mr. Avery glanced at the back of the bus through the rearview mirror. He nodded.

    “Thanks for telling me. I’ll talk to them.”

    Natalie smiled and walked down the bus steps. She hopped off the last one and skipped home. She was feeling much better.

    The next day, Mr. Avery smiled at Natalie as she got on the bus. “I talked to our friends in the back of the bus,” he said. “I reminded them that what they say affects those around them. I told them I didn’t want any bad language on our bus anymore. Let me know if it happens again.”

    Natalie grinned. “Thanks, Mr. Avery.”

    Natalie had a happy feeling in her heart. Heavenly Father had helped with the swearing. He didn’t make them stop. But He did help Natalie know what to do. He helped her be brave. And next time she needed courage to speak up, she knew she could do it with His help.