One day at school some of my students ran to tell me that a young man in my eighth grade science class had stuck his head in a public restroom toilet bowl and drank water.
“No way!” I said. “That’s unbelievable.”
“Ask him, ” they said.
I asked the young man during lunch break if what the other boys had said was true.
Through eyes laden with tears, he looked into my eyes and said, “What else could I do? They dared me. I would be called a sissy if I didn’t do it.”
I was crushed by his innocence. Didn’t he know that kids can be cruel?
Witnesses saw what the young man had done and nobody tried to stop him. Growing up can be such a challenge for adolescents.
That young man and I would not have had that conversation had he been bold enough to stand firm for what he believed about himself. If only he had not felt the need to defend his manhood.
It’s often easier to take a courageous stand when you find safety in numbers than when you stand alone. How I wished that young man could have had the courage to face the consequences of not accepting the dare.
The Bible tells us about three young God-fearing men who refused to bow when threatened with being tossed into a blazing furnace if they did not fall down and worship an idol god:
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:15-18 NIV).
How should a parent teach a child to respond to a dare?
Please share your comments with this teacher who will never forget the pain in this young man’s eyes.