Sometimes you have to work very hard to get people to see that what they are about to do is wrong. At times, you may feel like giving up, but don’t quit. My friend George was about to make a very crucial mistake when we were seniors in high school. He was spending time outside of school with one of our married female teachers and they were getting close to being very intimate. I immediately told him this was a bad idea and decided at that moment that I would do anything to help him from making a horrible mistake. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from this experience, it’s that persistence pays off.
While persistence may get someone to take action, you can’t really get them to change their mind or heart without also being empathetic and supportive. When George told me of his romantic involvement with one of our married female teachers, I decided to help him get away from the situation. To do this, I had to dedicate a lot of time to him. I tried to make plans to keep us busy and to keep him from thinking about her or going to see her. She was married with three children, and there was so much potential for a horrible situation to arise from their involvement.
As hard as I tried to talk to George about it, he really didn’t want to hear what I had to say. So I had to learn that in order to persuade someone, you don’t always have to tell them want to do, but you do need be persistent in your plan. My plan was to keep him preoccupied and busy. I knew that I could distract George and possibly keep him away from our teacher long enough for the situation to pass, but he was going to have to be the one to make up his own heart. Trying to change someone’s heart is like trying to grab a bull by its horns; virtually impossible. So I learned that I had to let him talk about his feelings and the situation.
I had to try to understand how he could feel such a way about our married teacher. To do this, I had to view her in a different context – as a regular person with her own personality and flaws. I also had to try to see how she could feel this way about George. I still offered my advice, but I mostly listened and let him talk it through. What I needed to do most to persuade George to stay away from our married teacher was to be supportive. When he made tough decisions, I had to stand by him. When he was angry, I had to hang on and let him vent his anger and frustration.
When he cried, I had to be there to hug him. If he was going to continued to see her, I still had to support him because I knew that eventually I would be able to help him see all that was wrong in what he was doing. I guess it is true that you can’t help who you fall in love with, and love is a blind and driving force, but when the person you fall in love with is your authority figure, such as a teacher, and is married and has a family, taking action on those feelings is wrong. In order to persuade George to the let flame extinguish in this particular romance, I had to be persistent, empathetic, and supportive.