February 5, 2020

Activity Days: Courage To Be Kind

I currently work with the girls at church who are 7-11 years old. We meet twice a month. Usually when we meet, we have a lesson, we do a craft and we play a game. For tonight's activity I was in charge of the lesson. I was not able to share my lesson in person tonight due to our entire family being sick, so the other leaders delivered the message I prepared.

Here is my message:

Dear Girls,

I am sorry I cannot be there with you tonight, I am home sick with my family. The message I want to share with you tonight is near and dear to my heart, I hope that you may be able to feel the promptings of the Holy Ghost touch your hearts this evening as we talk about the courage to be kind.

Read John 13: 34 

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”

Read Mark 12:30-31 

“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”

Question: What message do these scriptures have in common?

The first great commandment is to love God. The second is to love our neighbors. Everyone is our neighbor, we are all children of God. Regardless of whether or not someone has done bad things, we are supposed to love them. If they look different from us, talk different from us, sin differently than we do or treat us unkindly, we are supposed to love them. Sometimes it is the people who are most unkind to us that are in need of the most love.

“A physician once said, ‘The best medicine for humans is love.’ Someone asked, ‘What if it doesn’t work?’ He smiled and said, ‘Increase the does.’”

I want to share a story with you about my little sister Megan. Megan was the youngest in our family and I am the oldest. Our parents both worked and we were often left to fend for ourselves. I am five years older than Megan and I was oft times her protector.

When Megan was born she was born with a birth defect. I wish I had a picture I could show you to help you understand, but I do not have very many good ones. She had a growth that came out of the top of her head and covered her left eye like an eyelid. This growth was puffy and purple in color—kind of like a bruise. Inside her head Megan had very large veins.

Megan has had about 15 surgeries to help save her life. Most of them occurred when I was in high school and she was in junior high. Megan spent months at a time in the Intensive Care Unit of a hospital in Seattle, Washington. When she was eventually discharged from the hospital, she was incredibly thin and fail, half of her head had been shaved and she no longer had a left eye. She was very self-conscious about the way she looked.

She wore hats and scarves to school so her classmates would not notice her missing hair. She often wore a patch over her eye so people would not notice she no longer had her eye. She worn long sleeves to hide the skin graft scars on her arms. And she sat in the back of the classroom in hopes that people would not notice her.

One day while she was waiting in line to have her school picture taken a boy who was a member of the church was standing near her. He said loud enough for her to hear, “Who would want a picture of someone with a face like that?”

I cannot tell you how badly that comment hurt my sister. She was crushed. She was devastated and she did not go to school for days.

In time she went back to school. One day she decided to be brave and showed one of her scars to a boy in her class. He thought it was so cool! He had the rest of the class gather round to see how cool it was. This more positive experience was a boost to my sisters self confidence. I am incredibly grateful to this young man who had the courage to be kind.

From Left To Right: Daniel, Hazel, Julie, Megan, Jimmy, Russell & Dad.

Today Megan lives in Connecticut. She was sealed in the Seattle Temple to her husband, Daniel. She has two children of her own, Hazel and Jimmy and a step daughter named Audrey. She graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo with her Bachelors. She graduated high school as Valedictorian at 16 years old. While Megan may not look like everyone else, she has a heart of gold. I am so blessed to call her my sister. And in case you were wondering, she has her drivers license and can safely drive with one eye.

Being kind may not always be the cool thing, or the easy thing. But, I can promise you that it will always be the right thing. As you go throughout your lives, please stop, look around you and seek out those who may be different from you and show them that you care. If you do this, I promise you that the Lord will bless not only their lives but your lives as well. I leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ amen.