Have you ever been around someone who was a little bossy? Maybe the person acted like a bully, pushing and shoving his or her way around. Maybe it’s a schoolmate or one of your siblings.
Maybe some people are just hard to be around. Maybe all they do is talk, or the only subject they know is themselves. Or maybe they are experts on every subject—no matter what the topic is. Maybe they don’t talk at all, and it is like pulling teeth to start a conversation. I think we all know someone like this—and sometimes these people are just hard to be around.
Maybe this person is the man in the mirror.
How should we handle people like this? Run away? Tell them their faults?
Let’s look closely at an example of how someone did handle this.
It was around the middle of the year 1948. There were two sisters. The eldest was pregnant with her third child, and the younger one was about to deliver her first.
The eldest daughter had some complications: She had a non-malignant tumor or a cyst growing in her womb alongside the fetus. The doctors said the cyst was enlarging and bringing increasing pressure against the baby’s head, and they would need to operate. She was assured it was a simple procedure, but she feared being cut open with knives.
The younger daughter also had some complications with her pregnancy, and the doctors were concerned.
The oldest daughter was struggling with the decision but, in the end, decided not to go the medical route. She had been anointed and trusted in God for healing.
Around this time, the younger daughter, still concerned with the complications she was experiencing, was just about to head to the hospital to give birth to her first child.
Let’s pick up the next part of the story as it was written in the Plain Truth in November 1966.
“Just as they were going out the door, Beverly drove up, and came running excitedly saying, ‘I’ve just come from the doctor’s office, and I’m healed! They took another X-ray, and the cyst is gone! The doctors are flabbergasted! It’s just disappeared!’
“This experience came at the psychological instant to give our younger daughter the faith she needed for a safe delivery of her baby.”
These two mothers were Herbert W. Armstrong’s daughters, Beverly and Dorothy.
What an amazing healing. What a miracle God used to inspire her younger sister, Dorothy Mattson. But the story doesn’t end there—the next part of the story is about Dorothy’s baby:
“During delivery, she hemorrhaged. The baby was in such condition the doctor did not expect it to live. He needed to devote his entire attention to stopping the hemorrhaging. He didn’t even slap the baby’s back to make her breathe. Instead, believing the infant could not live unless by divine providence, he prayed asking God to decide, and cause the infant to breathe if He wanted her to live.
“At that instant the tiny 3-pound bundle of humanity uttered a feeble cry, and began breathing. She was washed and put in an incubator. Nevertheless, there were internal complications which prevented taking on weight—although she grew normally in height—and there was a basic heart condition which gradually produced enlargement of the heart.”
The Mattson family called their little girl Carole. Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong called her their little “Princess.” She lived until she was 17½ years old. This must have been a traumatic time for the Armstrong family. Not one of us knows how long we have on this Earth. Young Carole was the same age as some of the teens reading this magazine.
Why do I bring this tragic story to you? Because Mr. Armstrong said he wanted her story told.
It also illustrates for us what we need in order to get along with people. You see, Carole was “reprimanded for being cross and ‘bossy’ with the younger children [in her family].”
How many of us have done that? How many have even had trouble getting along with each other in the tight quarters in the dorm? How about the rest of us? Do we get along with others? What about with our workmates? What about with our spouses?
Her parents had corrected Carole, and she responded with a heartfelt letter of repentance to her dad and mom. Mr. Armstrong said: “The offense was not as serious as her letter indicates, but the important thing is that she took it seriously when it was called to her attention.”
When things like this are brought to our attention, what is our reaction? Do we think it is just a small thing, or do we see it for what Christ calls it in Matthew 5:22? Here He says if we are angry (that is provoked, enraged or exasperated) with a brother we could be in danger of the judgment!
And God tells us this in Romans 12:18: “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”
This young teen—who knew she would probably not make it to her 18th birthday—really made an impact. Her story can and should make an impact in our lives.
She could have easily lived life in self-pity and selfishness trying to get everything she could out of the few years she would have. Instead she used her 17½ years to inspire us.
Mr. Armstrong wrote: “In a letter she wrote to her Daddy and Mom, as she called them, she set a splendid example for thousands of children of those who will read this column, for I’m going to reprint that letter here. It was dated Sept. 1, 1965. She was 16 ½.”
September 1, 1965
Dearest Mom and Daddy,
Not before today did I really know how I have treated you both. I am very ashamed of myself, and I don’t expect you to forgive me for all the years I have caused you needless pain. It seems to me now that I have totally wasted your time.
Well, I’m going to try to make up for it all. I feel very terrible, and I wish I could live over those lost years you spent trying to teach me some good behavior. From now on I’m going to act my age and help out as much as I can. I’m not going to quarrel with the kids, and I will remember what you have always said to me, “If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”
From now on I will also be neat and clean and wipe out my bossiness toward others.
Maybe someday, and soon I hope, you will be proud of me, as you have been at times, when I was good.
My grades in school will go up this year too, and my new school clothes, as well as my old ones, will stay neat and where they belong.
I truly hope you can see an improvement in me soon.
I think you are both the most wonderful and understanding parents any child ever could have. I love you and I’ll prove it!
Love, your daughter,
Mr. Armstrong said that “Carole did prove it!”
What parent wouldn’t be move to tears after reading a letter like this from their child? Mr. Armstrong asked the question of the Plain Truth readers. “How many of you teenagers who read this column would write such a letter? I know I never would have as a teen.” Would you?
Mr. Armstrong goes on to explain the specific traits he was applauding: “But my little ‘Princess’ lived long enough to build a beautiful character. She set a splendid example for her younger sister and brother. She had a good, sound and sensible mind. She acquired a splendid attitude—a right spirit—that survives death, and will still be hers in the resurrection.”
Here are some points for you to ponder:
1. She set a splendid example. Do I?
2. She had a good, sound and sensible mind. Do I?
3. She acquired a splendid attitude and a right spirit. Have I?
Mr. Armstrong took this family tragedy and wrote about it to all the Plain Truth subscribers to inspire others; in particular he wanted to inspire the teens.
Carole’s short life will not have been lived in vain if we can learn the lesson Mr. Armstrong wanted us to gain from her example.
The next time we find ourselves being bossy—think of Carole’s example. The next time we find ourselves angry—think of Carole’s example. The next time we find ourselves offended—think of Carole’s example. The next time we are annoyed by someone—think of Carole’s example. The next time we are oversensitive—think of Carole’s example.
And live peaceably with all men! If we do, Carole Mattson—Mr. Armstrong’s little princess—will not have lived in vain.