Lyle was a very selfish boy. In all situations, he would only think of himself.One day at school, the teacher gave the students a text to read and then explain what they had understood.
Lyle saw a word he did not know and asked:
- Teacher, what does selfishness mean?
The teacher scanned the class and asked:
- Does anyone know what selfishness means?
Lucius, one of the students, raised his hand:
- I do, teacher! My mother explained to me that selfishness is the quality of a person who only thinks of themselves. They only care about their own interests and desires.
- Congratulations, Lucius! That's right. Selfish is the person who does not share anything with anyone, and if they have to share something, they always choose the best part for themselves.
The whole class clapped hands congratulating Lucius, the smartest student in the room.
Lyle, however, lowered his head, worried and thinking: So, am I selfish? ...
Another student, Lilly, wanted to know:
- Teacher, but why being selfish is bad?
- Because the person becomes very unhappy. As they only think of themselves, they end up having no friends and when they do, over time these leave them. Nobody likes people who only think about themselves, because we end up realizing that they do not like anyone but themselves!
The bell rang and the students left the room quickly, in a hurry to get home.
Lyle packed up and left too. Still remembering what the teacher had said, he realized that his classmates went out in groups, and did not even remember to wait for him, leaving him behind.
He got home serious and thoughtful. His mother wanted to know what had happened.
- Nothing, Mom. Nothing happened.
- So come have lunch, dear. Your father and sister have already arrived.
Sitting at the table, Lyle was still worried and asked:
- Daddy, if someone is not satisfied with themselves, can they change?
- Sure, son! We can change at any time. All it takes is the willingness to change and perseverance to keep our good intentions.
Hearing this, Lyle thought: Tomorrow I will start to change. I do not want to be selfish.
Right then Katya, his little sister, asked him to pour juice into her glass. Lyle grabbed the jar and would serve himself first, filling his cup. But remembering his willingness to change, he decided to start at that time.
So he handed a full cup to his sister, and only then pour himself some juice.
After lunch, the mother brought in the dessert. It was a pudding that Lyle loved! As there was not much left, he took his plate and went for it, thinking of having all of it. However, a light went on in his little head and remembering his selfishness he served himself a small portion. The mother, who knew him well, said:
- Congratulations, Lyle! You have done well. You thought not only of yourself, but everyone in the family.
Lyle was satisfied. His sister looked at him with different eyes, smiling and admiring him.
Later on, Lyle's sister asked him if she could borrow one of his toys. He was about to refuse, but thought better and went personally to his bedroom to fetch the toy, which he handed to his sister. Glad, she gave him a hug full of affection, and said:
- I love you, my dear brother!
Lyle's heart seemed to increase in size with joy.
At that moment, he understood why those who are selfish keep people away. Nobody likes people who only think of themselves, while love brings people together, making them happy with the exchange of good feelings.
The next day, Lyle went to school feeling more smug. That good feeling that he had in his heart, seemed to involve all of his classmates, because they were all approaching him to talk.
At one point, Tom came up and asked:
- Lyle, can I borrow your pen? Mine isn't working and I don't have a spare.
Immediately Lyle handed it to his classmate, saying:
- You can have it, Tom. I have another in my backpack.
His classmates exchanged a look full of surprise because Lyle was not one to act kindly, and Lucius asked:
- You are different today, Lyle. What happened?
- I found out that being selfish is very sad. It alienates people. Only love brings us closer to each other. Thus I understand why Jesus said we should do to others what we want others to do to us. This is the recipe for happiness!
The classmates hugged happily. A different feeling united them. Now they were not just classmates. They were friends!
(Psychographed by Celia X. de Camargo on 12.11.2012.)
Translation: Johnny Silveira