“Questions & Answers: Bad Stuff in School,” New Era, November 2016
Sometimes it feels like swearing, immorality, and other social problems are surrounding us more and more. We know that this is a sign of the last days (see 2 Timothy 3:1–7), but what can we do to protect ourselves and combat it?
Remember that in order to have the Spirit of the Lord with us, we need to keep our thoughts and actions clean. One way is to choose friends who share the same standards. Another way is to find other things to focus on, such as a favorite hymn, a scripture, or a favorite quote by a trusted leader. As we keep the commandments and build our testimonies, it becomes easier to resist temptations that are all around us.
There are times when it’s difficult to avoid bad language. That’s when we need to do as the Apostle Paul teaches: “Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
We’re examples of the believers when we keep our language clean and let those around us know what our standards are. Matthew T., 18, from Nevada, USA, said, “You can make a big difference just by living your standards and being yourself. People will notice your good behavior because it’s different, and they may ask you about it or change their behavior because of you.”
I go to a small school where inappropriate language is used often. It’s hard to walk through the hallway and listen to it. I had a hard time with it at first, but when I was at a youth fireside, someone mentioned that having a playlist of Church music in your head would help you ignore the language. I tried it, and it works for me. You can also kindly ask them to avoid speaking like that around you. As you do this, you’ll need courage. Remember Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
Emily A., 17, Missouri, USA
It’s hard sometimes to listen to people say bad things. I’ve learned that the best way to avoid bad language at school is to be yourself and share the gospel. Knowing what’s right is helpful. God knows that your example will impact those who need it. You can make a difference with your example!
Bryanna M., 13, Oregon, USA
I hear a lot of swearing on the school bus. To counter it, I like to read the scriptures. In doing so, I don’t have to listen to the swearing and I can concentrate on the Savior.
Jaron G., 16, Washington, USA
Encourage others to stop swearing. Don’t be afraid to leave your table at lunch if someone refuses to stop. If you can’t avoid it, try to ignore it. Fill your mind with uplifting things like hymns. Review the standards in the For the Strength of Youth booklet often. Find good friends who have the same standards as you, and that will help.
Sam N., 14, Wyoming, USA
Sometimes it isn’t what you do at school that makes a difference but what you do not do. When I entered junior high, I wanted to be a great example to others. Heavenly Father showed me that the best way to start was to not participate in swearing or other bad activities. This is a great way to start becoming the kind of example you want to be, because it shows people your standards.
Anna G., 15, Michigan, USA
I just started attending a junior high that’s mixed with high schoolers. Every day I hear swearing and mean comments.
My family prays together every morning before school. We ask if anyone needs any special prayers. Sometimes I ask whoever is praying to pray to help me in junior high.
I know I can make a small difference, so when someone is mean or starts to swear I just change the subject. I know that if I have faith the Savior can help me avoid bad stuff at school.
Brendon W., 15, California, USA
I have found that two things help to handle the swearing and inappropriate content of today’s world. First, find something else to focus on instead, whether it’s thinking of a blessing that day, remembering words to a favorite hymn, or something else that’s positive. Second, pray to and show love for your Heavenly Father. He loves you and can help you through anything. Trust in Him and stay positive!
Anna G., 16, Utah, USA