Mrs. Nelson went on to say, “Can we even begin to calculate the grief, pain and suffering that would flee from our nations if we confirmed our souls in self-control and our liberty in law by living the ‘Not Even Once’ commitment?” (Ibid.)
I am thinking of a youth who poured out his heart in remorse to me as he told how he first just liked a girl, then tried a few things just once. Once led to a pattern and he lost his chastity. How sorry he was that he thought he could amble down that road.
Our children and youth need to understand that they don’t have to forget the picture they never saw – not even once. They won’t have the temptation to cheat a second time if there never is a first time. A bad habit is like a chain that gets ever stronger and longer. It’s easier to never have the problem.
Mrs. Nelson went on and turned this phrase around to the positive by pointing out that we don’t want to pass up an opportunity to be kind – Not Even Once. We don’t want to miss the opportunity to forgive – Not Even Once. We don’t want to miss an opportunity to say something nice to someone – Not Even Once.
Lisa was a new student at a new high school. She was late in getting started that first year and that first day was horrible. She struggled to find her classes, sometimes arriving late, which was embarrassing. Some teachers were tolerant and helpful; others were irritated. Her locker just wouldn’t open most of the time. She had to try it three, four, or five times before it opened.
Trying to make the last half of her day go better than the first half, she decided to carry her lunch and all of her books for the afternoon classes. That would at least avoid the locker problem. She grabbed the books and her sandwich and headed for her next class, which was across a giant size quad. What she didn’t know was that at that school there was an unwritten rule. No one walked on the quad. Around it everyone gathered in groups for lunch. There were the various school cliques, the druggies, the punkers, the nerds, the jocks, the brains and others. Lisa sensed something was wrong as she started across the quad because of the intense quiet that suddenly existed. A feeling of dread filled her heart. And then she dropped a book, reached for it, lost her balance and fell.
She lay on the quad amid laughter that broke the silence. Then the chanting started: “You! You! You!”
From the edge of the quad a figure emerged slowly. A tall boy walked rigidly to her. The calls stopped. He picked up Lisa’s lunch and books, helped her up and together they crossed the quad. You see, he didn’t omit an act of kindness — Not Even Once. The next day everyone walked across the quad (Chris Blake, Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul, p. 166-269).