[fiddle music]

Debi Pearl: Papa and I are going to record, so y’all go ahead and shut the door.

[door creaks then closes, children talking and laughing in background]

Voiceover: Welcome to vintage answers from No Greater Joy’s archives. We’ve all seen the buzz about bullying in the media. But what about our kids? What should we be teaching them about how to treat those who are disliked by others? Hear Mike and Debi answer the question of how to guide our more mature kids into making a positive difference in another child’s life.

Debi: Okay, well, we have another letter. Now this letter is from a thirteen-year-old boy, and I’m not going to say his name, so I’ll call him Bob. He says, “My name is Bob and I am thirteen years old. I listened to your tapes, No Greater Joy, and I like it a lot. I have one question to ask you. You talked about a boy that no one wanted to play with. So you said that the boy should learn to be liked. Well, there’s an eight-year-old boy at our church that I don’t like to play with when I don’t have to play with him. When he comes over to our house with his parents, I wonder, would it be okay to avoid him, just go to my room without him? But if there are other people at the house, how can we all avoid him (because the people we have over don’t like him either)? What can I do?”

Mike Pearl: [chuckles] Sounds like he’s a pretty mature thirteen-year-old. He obviously has a twinge of conscience, or guilt, of thinking in terms of avoiding the child. He feels like he has some responsibility. It’s true that no man lives unto himself and no man dies unto himself. And I’d say this older boy, with that kind of insight, should have some input into that younger child’s life. He should examine, ask himself the question, “Why do people not like him? Why do parents not like him?” And then he should set out to change the child, to mold the child, to see what his needs are. If the child is nerdy, or if he’s ornery, or if he’s a jerk, then involve him in his own personal play or activities in some way as to mold him. This would be a great learning experience for the thirteen-year-old, to take some leadership. If he begins at this point avoiding a smaller child, simply because he doesn’t like him, then, it could be a habit that he would carry through the rest of his life. We don’t live on this earth just to pleasure ourselves, but to minister to others. Now at other times we might advise withdrawal. For instance if it was a fourteen- or fifteen-year-old boy that was a problem, and the thirteen-year-old boy was swayed by him, or moved by him, then parents should avoid bringing them in contact with each other. But in this situation, where there appears to be some maturity in the thirteen-year-old, the parents should counsel him, encourage him, work with him, ask him how it’s coming along, and even go out of his way to, once a week, invite the child over, or to go to his house, and spend some time. This would be a great ministry and a great learning experience for this thirteen-year-old. What do you say, Deb?

Debi: I say, that sounds real good. I’ve seen that happen in our own family a lot. We, as a family, like to minister to the underdog, if you would say that. You know, we enjoy watching people grow, and my children have enjoyed that, and I think it has caused us to be better, more sensitive to people’s needs. When you pick up the person that doesn’t need to be picked up then you haven’t picked up anybody at all. Training a child to start helping others that just can’t make it, when they’re young, by the time they’re sixteen years old, they’re ready to start fulltime ministry. And so that’s what I would tell this young man, I would say, start being a minister of the Lord right now by ministering to this eight-year-old little boy. Reach out and meet his needs and find out why he is a child that no one likes, and then be his friend.

[fiddle music fades in]

Voiceover: Well, that wraps up this week’s archives. We hope you found it as encouraging as we did. Don’t forget to check out the specials at Cane Creek Corner.

[fiddle music completes]

 

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