The CTR Reminder

“The CTR Reminder,” Friend, April 2021

The CTR Reminder

The author lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

This story took place in the Philippines.

“Do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 6:18).

“Remember who you are and what you stand for,” Sister Aquino said.

A girl with a ring on her finger

Raish smiled as she walked out of the chapel. She heard piano music coming from down the hall. It was time for Primary!

“Choose the right way and be happy,” Raish sang with the other children. “I must always choose the right.”

After singing time, Sister Aquino stood at the front of the room. “Does anyone still have their CTR ring?” she asked.

Raish raised her hand. “I do!” she said. “I keep mine in my drawer at home.”

“That’s great, Raish,” Sister Aquino said. “I remember when I was young, my mom always told me, ‘Remember who you are and what you stand for.’ I hope all of you will do your best to choose the right.”

When Raish got home from church, she ran to her drawer and pulled out her CTR ring. She wanted to wear it more often to remind her to choose the right.

The next day at school, Raish carried her lunch to the table where her friends always sat. She always loved talking with Julia and Bituin!

Raish and her friends were laughing about their favorite show when a new girl walked over. She sat down next to Julia. “Hi,” she said quietly. “I’m Imelda.”

“Um, excuse me!” Julia said. “This is our table.”

Imelda stood up. “Oh,” she said quickly. “Sorry.” She looked down at the ground and walked away.

Raish scrunched her forehead. “Why did you say that?” she asked Julia. “We should be nice to her. She’s new, and she probably needs friends.”

“But it’s our table,” Julia said.

“Yeah,” said Bituin.

Raish looked down at her food. She felt bad for Imelda. But she was afraid to say anything more. What if Julia and Bituin got mad at her?

That night, Raish kept thinking about Imelda. She decided to say a prayer. “Heavenly Father, please help me know what to do about my friends. Help me to choose the right.”

As the week went on, Raish looked for Imelda every day during lunch. And every day, she saw Imelda sitting alone. Raish felt sad for her. She wanted to invite Imelda to sit at their table, but could she stand up to Julia and Bituin? Raish just didn’t know what to do.

One day Raish saw Imelda walk by their table. “Look at the new girl,” Julia said loudly. “Her lunch is wrapped in a banana leaf. Gross!”

Bituin laughed. “Her family doesn’t even have money to buy a lunchbox.”

Imelda bit her lip. She started walking faster.

Raish looked at the CTR ring on her finger. She did want to choose the right. Then something else popped into her mind. It was what Sister Aquino had said in Primary. Remember who you are and what you stand for. She wanted to always be kind and stand for the right.

Raish turned to her friends. “Please stop,” she said. “Imelda’s not doing anything to you. Just leave her alone.”

Julia gave Raish a mean look.

Raish stood up. “I’m going to sit with Imelda,” she said. She carried her food to the empty table where Imelda sat. Imelda looked surprised.

“Hi,” Raish said. “I’m sorry we haven’t been very nice to you. I want to be your friend.”

Imelda smiled. “Thanks,” she said softly.

Raish smiled back. She was glad she could be Imelda’s friend. And she was glad that she chose the right.

Friend Magazine, Global 2021/04 Apr

Illustrations by Jennifer Eichelberger