“I don’t like school anymore,” Melinda said sadly.
Her mom, who was reading a book in the den, looked up in surprise.
The words seemed to stick in Melinda’s throat. She had always loved school. Ever since kindergarten, she had loved her teachers. She had made friends easily. In fourth grade, she had even been elected president of her class.
But she wasn’t thinking about any of that now. All she was thinking about were the tears that threatened to spill over.
Mom set down her book and put her arms around Melinda. The sun was streaming in the window. Rosie, Melinda’s calico cat, bounded over to the couch and sat gently on her foot. But Melinda was too busy crying to notice.
Finally, her mom asked a question. “What happened at school today that’s making you so unhappy?”
Melinda gulped. “It’s not just today. It’s every day. Because of the sixth-graders.”
Some of the kids in Melinda’s fifth-grade class had been combined with the kids in a sixth-grade class. And there were many more sixth-graders than fifth. In the beginning, it seemed like a good opportunity to make new friends. But then, she explained between sniffles, “The sixth-graders treat me like a baby and call me names.”
Her mom was quiet for a minute. She often got quiet when Melinda talked to her about something upsetting, or when she asked for help with a problem she was having. Melinda knew that her mom was praying, asking God to help them feel and hear Her motherly love and reassurance.
“I know!” Mom said. She pulled out the book she’d been reading when Melinda walked in the door. It’s called Prose Works and is a collection of writings by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science. Mom read aloud to Melinda, “We can rejoice that every germ of goodness will at last struggle into freedom and greatness, and every sin will so punish itself that it will bow down to the commandments of Christ,—Truth and Love” (No and Yes, p. 8).
Melinda blinked back her tears and sat up. It was almost like a light bulb had gone on. She understood the main idea: Even a little seed of goodness has the power to grow, while anything that isn’t good or Godlike has to be destroyed. This sentence was telling her that nothing could stop her from being who she was. That no matter what, she could still express all the goodness she knew was natural to her. She could also trust God to tell the other children about their own goodness.
“And no matter what any sixth-grader says to me,” she told her mom, “I don’t have to feel hurt. I’m free to be good!” She jumped off the couch, hugged her mom, and scooped up Rosie the cat.
The next day after school, Melinda was smiling as she danced in the door. She’d had a good day being good. And although it took a little while, the sixth-graders got to know her and they all became friends.
The next year, when Melinda was in sixth grade, she was especially nice to the fifth-graders. She wanted them to know that they were liked and included. More than that, though, Melinda knew how good it felt to be good. It made her feel close to God. And that was more than good—it was great!
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