Anything exciting happen at school today?” Mom asked as Jerry lowered himself into his favorite chair.
“Well, sort of,” the boy replied. “A new kid sat next to me in science class.”
“Yup. Some guy from a country far away. Syria or India or Africa or somewhere.”
Mom smiled. “Oh. That’s nice. What did he say to you?”
“What did you say to him?”
The woman frowned. “You guys didn’t talk to each other?”
Jerry shook his head. “Why should I? I don’t even know him. And, he doesn’t know me. Besides, we’ve got nothing to talk about.”
“I can think of one thing,” Mom pressed.
“Science! You were both in science class!”
“Well, yes. But I don’t think I’m going to hang out with him anyway. He looks strange.”
“Strange? What do you mean?”
“I don’t know. Maybe not strange. Maybe just different. His hair, his skin, his eyes. Even the way he talks. You know, different.”
The woman settled herself on the footstool beside Jerry’s chair. “Let me ask you a question.”
“If you were a new kid in school, and you didn’t know anyone, and you felt like a stranger, and maybe you had a hard time understanding what the teacher was saying because you didn’t speak the language all that well, how would you feel?”
Jerry thought for a long moment. “I guess…I’d feel kinda embarrassed? Kinda lost?”
“And what would you want someone to do—someone such as the student sitting beside you?”
“Well, maybe he could say something like, ‘Hey. How are you?’”
Mom smiled. “That sounds like a good plan.”
The boy gasped. “Wait a minute. I know what you’re doing, Mother dear. You’re making me pretend I’m the new kid so I can figure out what I should do and say if I sit beside a new kid in science class, right?”
Mom nodded. “Or in church, or at the store, or on the bus, or at the ball game. There are a lot of ‘new kids’ in this world and, you’re right, they probably feel embarrassed and lost just like you’d feel. When someone says ‘Hello” or ‘How are you today?’ they don’t feel so alone.”
“And now you’re going to tell me that Jesus wants us to talk to new kids, too, right?”
“Yes, Jesus did say something about how we should treat the new kids in our life. We read the verse just last week during morning worship. Remember?”
Jerry frowned again, then brightened. “Wait. I remember. Something about doing to others what we want them to do to us?”
Mom smiled. “You were listening when dad read that verse! Good for you! It said, ‘So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you’ Matthew 7:12. That’s a very important verse. If we want to be treated fairly, with respect, and be allowed to be who we are, we have to allow others the same privilege.” The woman leaned forward. “Can you imagine what this world would be like if everyone…I mean everyone…did what Jesus said? What would happen?”
Jerry grinned. “I know one thing for sure,” he stated. “There’d be a whole lot fewer strangers and a whole lot more friends.”
“So,” Mom pressed, “what are you going to do the next time you sit by the new kid?”
The boy lifted his chin slightly. “I’m going to say, ‘Hey. How are you? Do you know what a supernova is?’”
Mom nodded. “That sounds like a good plan,” she said proudly.
Charles Mills is the author of more than 50 published books and over 300 articles. Mills began his career at Faith for Today and the Adventist Media Center in Newbury Park, California. For the past 35 years, he has been an independent media producer, writer, and radio/television host.