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Those Juniors, Part 22: Winding Them Up Right

by Eric B. Hare

Last week: There are steps to dealing with classroom difficulties. These steps are clearly demonstrated in Christ’s dealings with the seven churches in Revelation. No one is all bad.

We Interview Johnny
“Oh, good morning, Mrs. Parent. I’ve just called to have a little chat with Johnny.”

“Certainly, won’t you come in? I’ll go and call him.”

“And we can talk alone in the living room?”

“Of course, I understand. I’m so glad you called.”

“Well, Johnny, and how are you this fine day?”

“Oh, all right.”

“I suppose you have a little idea of what I've come to talk about, eh, Johnny?”

Johnny grins a sick, shy grin.

“I can still remember how I used to feel when my teachers used to come and say a few words to me.”

“Honest, did they?”

“Worse than that, Johnny. I remember one day at camp meeting. My father was praying in the junior tent. There was a big crowd, and I had been playing my trumpet for the singing. During the prayer a lot of us boys were standing near the organ and right in the middle of the prayer—it must have been Satan, but it sounded like one of those boys—he whispered in my ear, ‘I bet yer not game to toot yer horn while yer dad’s prayin’.’ I shook my head and whispered back, ‘I am game, but I wouldn’t do it.’ ‘Garn, yer scared,’ he taunted me. And you know what that does to you, don’t you? So I lifted my horn to my lips. I thought I could give the teeniest-weeniest little toot that you could hardly hear, but out came a big toot. Oh, was I ashamed! But that was not all. My father stopped his prayer, took my horn and put it on the organ, then took me by the ear and led me out of the tent. Then he went back and finished his prayer.”

“And did you lose face! Didn’t all the fellows kid you all the rest of the day?”

“I’ll say they did, but do you remember that I didn’t bawl you out in front of the boys last Sabbath? I’ll tell you why. I’ve discovered that the boys with a lot of steam pressure are the boys that do things and go places when they grow up into men, and, Johnny, you have more than the ordinary share of talents and ability. You are generous with your things, and the boys all like you. By the way, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

“Aw, I don’t know. I’d like to be an airplane pilot, but mother wants me to be a missionary doctor.”

“Say, Johnny, you could be both. I believe lots of our missionaries will be flying their own planes all over the mission fields in the near future.”

“Oh, I never thought of that.”

“And you’ve got all that it takes to be both, too. Only—only—you know, an airplane pilot who couldn’t control himself or a doctor who couldn’t control himself wouldn’t be much account anywhere. And, Johnny, it wouldn’t really be hard for you to begin putting the screws on yourself right now. All you’d need to do would be to leave the chocolates home and save them for a party or something. Then you just sit on the end of the row. Do it without my telling you to, and if things begin to get out of control, you could even move over one chair and sit by yourself. And then just think how that would help me, and you are such a leader, as soon as you hold tight the other fellows will hold tight and in a week or two our class will have the best reputation in the whole Sabbath school. What do you say, Johnny?”

“Sure, I’ll try. I suppose it’s only because we don’t think.”

“Thanks a million, Johnny. You’re a fine lad. I knew you would.”

How easy to follow this little talk with a word of prayer, and next Sabbath and maybe ever after that you will have no more trouble with Johnny.

Let us look at a picture of the way Johnny feels when you bawl him out. The first dot represents the level of his spirits when you begin. You bawl him out and down go his spirits to sinking position. Now draw a picture of the results when we follow this mysterious formula. You commend his good points, up they go to 2. Then you reprove the fault and down come his spirits to 3. Then you talk of the reward, and up they go to 4. When you are finished, Johnny is happier than when you started.

Remember that “the great motive powers of the soul are faith, hope, and love” (Education, p. 192). Let us use them to the greatest extent in the training and correcting of our juniors. The little girl who got her words mixed a little and for the memory verse said, “Wind up a child, and away he will go,” was not far wrong, after all. It is our privilege to wind them up right.

(Next week: “Three Judges.”)

Copyright © 1973 by Eric B. Hare. Used by permission.              

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