Thursday, October 14, 2010
Gratitude for Youth Leaders
Yesterday, Allan forwarded an e-mail from this man who is one of Elder Rob's favorite men in the whole world. He asked Allan to forward it on to our Elder. This man was never one of his youth leaders per se, but he had a great influence on him. I was so touched that this man took time to send him a note. And it was an incredible note that I know will mean a great deal to him. It's things like that, that truly touch me. That was what prompted my feelings of gratitude for youth leaders that I'd like to share today.
First of all--no, I do not have any youth at home, but I can honestly say my little Elder is where he is today because of some great, caring youth leaders. I also know that as I look at each of my children and the grandchildren I have who are members of the Church, that each of them have been influenced by youth leaders.
I have to echo Elder Holland's words about testimony meetings at Girls Camp. They are amazing. Yes, keeping that testimony you feel there takes effort, but if we as parents can just help them remember those spiritual experiences, as well as helping them recognize others they are having, it will help them when they face those tough time. The example of YW leaders is so critical to these young women who are being bombarded with messages contrary to the values they are being taught.
I loved when Elder Holland, after expressing gratitude for YW leaders said, "And no less the brethren of the priesthood. I think, for example, of the leaders of our young men who, depending on the climate and continent, either take bone-rattling 50-mile (80 km) hikes or dig—and actually try to sleep in—ice caves for what have to be the longest nights of human experience." Yes, both Brent and Elder Rob did winter camping and I'm glad I wasn't the one who had to go with them. (I still remember Brent digging a quincee in the backyard ; )
I think one of the greatest things youth leaders do is love the youth. I remember my kids going to school and hearing things like, "You are the worst class in this school." They just need to feel loved.
As I stated, Elder Rob is on his mission partly because of these leaders and I know Heidi and Brent are where they are today because of their leaders. I also know my older children were blessed by some great ones. I know when Stephen's Scout leader passed away a couple of years ago from Cancer, he was there at his funeral and told Bro. F's wife how grateful he was for his service. I remember Chris taking the boys on a River Trip down the Snake River and Stephen coming home and telling us, "I have a testimony of the Gospel." (Believe me at that time in his life, those words that were so wonderful (and unexpected) And, I know Neal had one of the best Scout leaders when he entered Scouting. The whole Scouting experience was a wonderful one for him because of Milo.
I served in the YW's program for years and have had the opportunity to learn from some incredible women. I admire the youth of the Church so very much. I think the Personal Progress and the Duty to God program are so inspired.
I also want to express gratitude for the fabulous Seminary teachers. I know it is an inspired program and those who serve must really be dedicated. (It will always be one of my favorite callings. The youth I had in my class throughout those four years will all hold a special place in my heart--especially my little Elder)
So, to all of you who have ever worked with the youth, I hope you know that parents are grateful for you.