My grandson, Xavier, is a sweet little boy. He is friendly and outgoing and has no problems making friends. When he started Kindergarten last year, he was apprehensive as most children are. However, within a few weeks he was doing wonderfully and adjusting to his new schedule. One night he called me and sounded a little down. “What’s going on?” I asked. “How is school?”
He sighed and told me a sad little story about a boy in his class who didn’t seem to like him very well. “He shoved me and he spit on me,” he said. Being his grandmother I wanted to rush to his defense. How dare anyone treat my precious little grandson like that? “Why would he do such a thing?” I asked. He sighed again, “I don’t know.” He told me the teacher had put the little boy in a time-out but it didn’t matter because he was still being mean not only to Xavier but to other children as well.
Xavier’s predicament reminded me of a situation his mother had experienced. When my daughter was young there were two girls who picked on her, at the bus stop, for no reason. My daughter was not mean or antagonistic in any way and her meek attitude made her an easy target. As a Christian, I knew Romans 12:18 taught us that if it is possible, as much as it depends on us, we should live in peace with everyone. I told my daughter not to react to the taunting of the girls but if the bullying escalated I would take care of it. The girls continued their persecution and I decided to have a talk with their parents who were our neighbors. When I confronted the parents, with their daughters’ behavior, they were horrified. The next day the harassment stopped and by the close of the school year my daughter was even friends with one of the girls.
I shared his mother’s story with Xavier. “The Bible teaches us we are to live in peace with everyone. Maybe this little boy doesn’t know how to make friends. If you show him kindness, even when he is mean, it might teach him how to be a good friend.” Xavier agreed to give this approach a try.
A few days later, I called Xavier. “Grandma, it worked,” he said excitedly. “Dylan was mean to me and I didn’t do anything back. I asked him if he wanted to play cars with me in the sandbox and he said okay. He’s my friend now.”
“That’s wonderful!” I exclaimed. “He just needed someone to show him some kindness.”
The lesson was not lost on Xavier. A few months later my daughter and son-in-law purchased a new home in the country. They had a two acre back yard which hadn’t been maintained for several years. My son-in-law is an industrious young man and he decided to clean out the overgrown vegetation. He was very enthusiastic in his task and without realizing it he trimmed some of his next door neighbor’s yard as well.
One day, there was a knock on their door. A sheriff stood there and said the next door neighbor, an elderly woman, had called and complained about my son-in-law’s invasion of her property. My daughter and son-in-law were shocked and their first reaction was anger that she called the police without coming to them first.
The next day, they were outside doing some yard work and realized Xavier had disappeared. They looked all over the yard and in the house and couldn’t find him anywhere. My son-in-law happened to glance over at the next door neighbor’s house and there stood Xavier on the front porch talking with the elderly woman. He ran over and apologized to her for Xavier’s intrusion but she just smiled. “He’s a sweet little boy,” she said. “He thought I might need a friend.”
Xavier’s gesture mended the fences and they have been great neighbors since then. We are to live in peace even when our human side would react differently. God wants us to show a troubled world His peace and sometimes the first step is a simple gesture of friendship.