Camden laughed at his little sister as Wrigley wrinkled her nose and pushed the plate of tomatoes away. Wrigley folded her arms and shook her head, “I hate tomatoes; please don’t make me eat them.”
“You’re such a goober, you like pizza, spaghetti, and lasagna. They all have tomatoes in them.” Camden pushed the plate back to Wrigley. “So quit being a baby and just eat them like Mom told you to do in the first place.”
Wrigley paled as her blue eyes looked for the truth in her mother’s eyes. She gulped when Mom nodded her head. “Fine then, I’m never going to eat pizza, lasagna or spaghetti again.” She shoved the vile tomato plate back to her brother.
He just laughed harder at her. “That’s called cutting off your nose to spite your face.”
Finally Mom interrupted, “You two need to stop this silly argument. You’ve been bickering all week. Those tomatoes are fresh from the garden, Wrigley, and you need to eat one slice. You know the rules. And Camden quit picking on your little sister. You two need to be friends not enemies.”
The next day after school Wrigley went into her brother’s room. “You’re in trouble. Mom was on the phone with your teacher. What did you do?” Camden jumped off his bed and slammed the door in his sister’s face.
Just before dinner, Mom called the kids into the living room. Camden could feel the tension in the air. His mother had a frown on her face, and his father’s eyebrow was lifted up, Mom sighed, “Your teacher called me today, Camden. We need to talk about what happened in school.”
Camden glanced at his sister, “Does she have to be here for this?”
Dad looked his two children in the eyes before responding, “Yes what we need to say is important and you both need to hear it.” He turned his gaze to Camden. “Would you like to tell me why you called the new boy names and wouldn’t let him play ball with you today?”
Camden shifted his weight in his chair; his leg was trembling, he took a deep breath, “He should go back to his own country. We don’t want any terrorist living around here. He’s Muslim. Those people do unthinkable things. Look at 911. So we decided if we didn’t let him play it would show him who’s boss around here.”
Mom shook her head,tears filled her eyes, “I thought I raised you two to judge for yourself. I didn’t teach you to be prejudiced.”
Wrigley looked at Mom and Dad, “I’m not prejudiced. I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Mom shook her head, “Maybe not yet, but you’re working on it.” Wrigley’s mouth dropped open. Before she could say a word Mom continued, “Look at what happened at dinner last night. You don’t ever want to eat your favorite foods anymore because they have tomatoes in them. It may seem like a silly comparison, but prejudice starts little and grows big. Just because you don’t like the taste of raw tomatoes, you were willing to stop eating anything with tomatoes in it. Instead what you should do is try each dish and then decide if you like it or not.”
Dad turned to Camden, “It’s the same way with people. We don’t lump them all together, but we judge each one individually for what that person has to offer. It sounds silly, but just like we tell you to taste everything on your plate to see if you like it, you should spend time with each new person and judge him on what he does.”
“You two wouldn’t what to be judged just because you’re Christians do you?” Mom leaned over and put an arm around her children. “We want you to be the best you can be.”
Both kids shook their heads. Tears started to fill Camden’s eyes. “I guess I broke the Golden Rule today. 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' I’m sorry and I’ll tell the new kid I’m sorry, too. Can I go call my friends and tell them we were wrong and see if they will let him play ball tomorrow?”
Mom and Dad both smiled, “After dinner, tonight we are having goulash. And Wrigley, even though it has tomatoes in it, you will try it won’t you?”
Wrigley nodded; they went to the table, said Grace, and ate the goulash together.
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