Effort To Make Up
Ha'azinu (Deuteronomy 32 )
The days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are some of the holiest days of the year. One of the holiest things in life is when people get along in harmony each other. Sometimes bad feelings arise between people. If this happens, the right thing to do is try our best to apologize and make up. Traditionally, people use this special time of year to seek and grant forgiveness to each other. We can do it and be holy too.
In our story, a kid discovers that it's worth it to make the effort to make up.
"GETTING UNSTUCK "
Danny squirmed when he saw the list of science-lab partners posted on the wall outside the classroom on the first day of school. I can't believe they put me with Greg! How in the world am I going to do complicated science experiments and write up reports with someone I'm not even talking to?
A couple of weeks ago he would have been thrilled to be teamed up with Greg. But that was when they were still best friends and before they had the big fight.
The bell rang. Danny shuffled into the classroom and slowly took his place next to Greg without looking him in the eye or saying a word. He noticed that Greg turned his face away and sighed as he thought about the day of their fight...
"Welcome, class" said Mr. Swift, the teacher. "Today, for our first experiment, we are going work with magnets."
Okay, Danny thought, maybe I shouldn't have borrowed Greg's bike without asking and maybe I shouldn't have left it out in the rain...
"The interesting thing about magnets," the teacher went on, "is that sometimes they pull close to each other and sometimes they push away from each other."
...But was it right for Greg to get so mad and to insist that I pay to fix the rusted brakes?
"I've given each of you one big magnet. You'll notice that each magnet has one side painted red and the other side blue. Take your magnet and place the blue side up against your lab partner's blue side and try your hardest to make them stick together."
The kids tried it and laughed as nobody could get the magnets to stick together or even touch each other. Danny and Greg did it too - but they didn't laugh together and hardly even looked at each other.
If things keep up like this, it's going to be a long school year, Danny thought to himself sadly. He had thought about wanting to make up with Greg, but it would be so embarrassing to have to say he was sorry...
"Now magnets are very stubborn," the teacher went on. "As long as neither one of them is willing to turn, they won't have anything to do with each other. Now one of you turn your magnet back to the blue side and hold it up against your lab-partner's red side and see what happens."
The kids did it and immediately all the magnets clicked together and stuck to each other. The kids (except for Danny and Greg) were all really laughing now as they struggled to get the magnets apart. Just then, Danny started to think...
You know, I'm being just like that magnet. The only way Greg and I are going to stop pushing away from each other and start coming together is if I'm willing to turn to him and apologize. He took a deep breath...
The boy slowly looked up at him.
"I'm tired of being a 'stubborn magnet,'" Danny smiled hesitantly.
Greg look confused.
"I mean," Danny went on, "I'm, um... sorry about the bike and I'm willing to pay for the brakes." He held his breath as he waited to see what Greg would say. After a long moment, the other boy looked at him and smiled the first smile Danny had seen from him since their fight.
"Thanks, Danny," Greg said. "It's okay - the brakes dried out and were fine after a couple of days. I guess I was just being a 'stubborn magnet,' too."
The guys had a good laugh and a great time being lab-partners - and friends again, thanks to Danny's being willing to make the effort to make up.
Q. How did Danny feel at first?
A. He felt bad that he and Greg were fighting, but he didn't want to apologize.
Q. How did he feel in the end?
A. He felt much better that he'd apologized and made up with his friend.
Q. What life lesson do you think someone could learn from this story?
A. When we get into a quarrel with someone else we may feel justified to stay angry. But God wants us to be at peace with each other and both He and we will feel much happier if we make the effort to patch things up.
Q. If Greg hadn't accepted Danny's apology, what do you think he should have done?
A. He (and we, if we find ourselves in a similar situation) should try to apologize a few sincere times but if after all this, if the person doesn't accept it, we should know we tried our best and leave him alone to work things out at his own pace.
Ages 10 and Up
Q. Do you think that to be in harmony with someone, we must be similar to him?
A. It isn't necessary. What is necessary is to have respect for each individual as one of God's children and to be willing to treat him in a way which reflects that respect.
Q. Why do you think it's often so hard to say 'I'm sorry'?
A. Each of us naturally likes to think of himself as a good person and when he errs (as we all do) he tends to want to deny or cover up his mistake, so he doesn't have to face his fault. However, by being more honest with ourselves and being able to admit and apologize when we've done wrong, we truly become the type of people that are worthy of our own and other's respect.