In our high school catechism class we have had a boy who got on everybody’s nerves. His misbehavior finally exhausted the teacher’s patience and the boy was ordered to leave the class and not to return again. He is now telling it around that he is through with Sunday School and the church as well as catechism. He says everybody has been picking on him and he gets blamed for every. thing.
Some of our class have been talking it over and we wonder now whether there may not be a little truth in what he says. Because we knew he was a prankster and would dare anything we did egg him on once in a while just for the fun of it. We feel now that we may be partly responsible for what has happened. What shall we do?
My suggestion is that you express your feelings to your catechism teacher and see whether something can be worked out to give the boy another chance. It appears from your letter that his misbehavior became excessive so that, as you write, he “got on everybody’s nerves.” But if there was any degree of class participation in the encouragement of that misconduct, it would seem to me that some consideration should be given him and that the class might even acknowledge a measure of guilt.
Sometimes people make it practically impossible for us to endure their presence any longer. But it is dangerous business to dismiss one from a class such as yours and tell him never to return. I am reminded of the following story told by Walter B. Knight:
In a Sunday School class was a rough boy. He made it tough for every teacher he had. The last teacher went to the superintendent with an ultimatum: “Either that boy goes, or I go! Take your choice.” The superintendent took the boy to the door and said, “There’s the street! Go, and don’t you ever come back to this Sunday School.”
What became of that boy? He entered upon a life of crime and was nationally known as a desperado. A trail of blood followed him. Then, one night, as he emerged from a Chicago theater a hail of bullets riddled his body.
In one of the Chicago papers a most unusual picture appeared -only the feet of the slain criminal showed. In bold type were the following words: “These are the feet of John Dillinger.” And underneath was this question: “Who knows where these feet might have gone if someone had guided them aright?”