Monday, January 30, 2012

Counsel to Youth

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Counsel to Youth, by Boyd K. Packer
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

I have difficulty trusting others to do things the best way—or at least the way I think they should be. I guess I have organizational obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Here's an example:

My eldest son just turned eight and is being baptized this weekend! Where we lived before, each child had their own baptismal program where the family had the opportunity to make the various choices and assignments related to the program; however, here there are monthly baptisms where multiple children may be baptized. As a result, the planning process is subdivided, introducing more uncertainty that I'm usually comfortable with, but especially more than I like in an event that I've planned in my mind for years.

Luckily, the other family whose son is being baptized at the same time are friends of ours, so there is much less to worry about.

Nevertheless, I worry.

For example, we were instructed to ask those who were chosen to give talks to remember to cater their remarks to eight-yr-olds' level of understanding (and attention span). "Five minutes, tops!" we were told to pass on, so that the actual talk would be under ten minutes.

We got to choose who would give the talk on the Gift of the Holy Ghost. My son chose a great speaker, but I couldn't help worrying. There are many avenues that one could traverse when giving such a talk, and I had certain things that I wanted conveyed, but I didn't want to force my ideas on others (but really I did).

In his talk, President Packer boldly told the youth—like my son—"you young people are being raised in enemy territory." I saw the guidance available from the Holy Ghost as a central theme in his counsel to the youth. He even shared part of his patriarchal blessing:

You shall be guided through the whisperings of the Holy Spirit and you shall be warned of dangers. If you heed those warnings, our Heavenly Father will bless you.

He then focused on that little word with a big meaning: if.

As I think of my son and the big step he will be taking this weekend, I want him to understand that if.

This weekend, my children helped me clear some tree branches from an area where we were hanging a tree swing. In addition to seeing that they are a lot more eager to help with chores when there is fun attached to the end, I had the chance to talk with them about whatever came up. Entirely organically, my son asked me questions about his upcoming baptism and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

While loading branches and leaves into the compost bin, I realized that I didn't have to worry about what someone else said in a five-minute talk on the Gift of the Holy Ghost—I was being given the opportunity to say what I wanted to say! However, I didn't want to launch into lecture-mode, so I did something rare for me: I didn't worry.

After a quickly offered prayer, I did something that President Packer counseled and decided to "trust in the Lord with all [my] heart" (Prov. 3:5). Setting my long-prepared talk aside, I had a real, natural conversation with my son—whom I love—about something that means a lot to me, and will mean a lot to him: the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

We talked about the if situations.

We talked about how many will talk about the Gift of the Holy Ghost as if it is mostly few-and-far-between promptings, whereas it can be an all-the-time way of living.

We talked about what the Holy Ghost feels like—sharing real examples from both of our lives.

After our talk, I'm ready to trust my son to make good decisions—he already knew all the answers in our talk!—but I still want to be there to help him when needed.

I may have trouble trusting others (remember the organizational OCD?), but I love that great things happen when I "trust in the Lord with all [my] heart."

I'm trying to trust others; I really am! But I still insisted that I be in charge of printing the program for this weekend's baptism.

Certain things just have to be right.

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