It’s not easy to do the right thing when it seems everyone else isn’t. In the Bible, we see that out of all the Jews taken in the Babylonian Exile, only 3 refused to bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s statue. In Washington, we see that only one man is willing to stand up and…just kidding. I have no desire to write about politics ever.
Last week, I got to help run a youth camp program in Muskegon with my friends Amy and Todd. It was a new experience for me, and it was really fun. One kid stood out to me on two separate occasions. One was good, one was not. On Wednesday, he and I had a run in when he openly disrespected me. Up to that point, he had been pretty respectful and was enjoying himself. So we had some words, most of which came from me, and we parted ways. We were fine, though, and he continued coming the rest of the week. That was the first time he stood out to me, and to be honest, it made the next time even more surprising.
On Friday, something happened. I noticed that a group of older guys was sitting off to the side, refusing to engage with the rest of the group. Amy knew why, but I hadn’t heard yet. This middle school guy had been hanging around them the whole week, trying to be accepted into their group. He wanted to be cool to them and followed them around a lot. They actually accepted him into their little circle and let him in on a secret: they had been doing bad things that week: destructive things. They were bragging about it. Now he had a choice to make. Did he want to be cool or let someone know? I think that most kids – and frankly, most adults – would have kept their mouths shut. You know, because snitches get stitches. But not this kid. He went and told Amy what had happened, because it needed to be done. He chose the uncool way out, and on Friday, he was out of the group.
After I had all the details, I went and found him, and we had some more words, with most of them coming from me again. If I pulled him aside to express disappointed in the way he behaved earlier in the week, I was going to be sure to pull him aside and tell him how impressed with him and proud of him I was this time. And that’s something you should do. If you don’t take time to praise the good things and right decisions someone makes, you should probably bite your tongue and not criticize or correct them, either.