My son is about to give his first talk in Sacrament meeting on Sunday. It will be interesting to see how it goes. Most of my kids have spoken in Primary before, but those are basically reading talks, they are given a set script and they just read the lines.
This time I wanted to sit down and get some input, get him to own the talk a bit. At twelve speaking is an intimidating process but it is something that gives him a chance to grow and I am happy he had the experience. Given that statement I also want him to understand what he is talking about so that he is just not doing a seminary answer talk, where he reads the latest story from the Ensign, New Era or Friend.
So today we worked away, browsing for quotes, some of the time I interviewed him about what he thinks on the subject. I figured he would come to understand the issue better that way.
Talk done. He reads it, I realize that I have not put a testimony spot. (My second son finished a talk in Primary with “I’m done,” because I failed to put “In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen” at the end. So I attached it.
Then I realized he had not really expressed his testimony at the end. So I asked him what he thought about the topic from a faith standpoint. Twelve year olds hum-ha-hum with the best of them by the way. It was obvious that he understood why it was important but not why it was important to him.
So we started talking about a testimony. I decided to bring up Moroni. I felt that my child like an investigator may not really know how to identify spiritual experiences. So I felt he needed to understand. My first step was to explain that at some point he could not pass on borrowed light. I phrased it differently using the idea that he is at a friends house who is not a member on a Sunday, the friend wants to buy a chocolate bar. He suggests to my son that he wants him to come and will even buy him one.
I felt immediately we were getting to the crux of the discussion. The concept that going to church, doing whats right is hard. And the Lord expects hard things from us. I said think of his jewish friend, he cannot eat a ham sandwich. We know it is delicious, not bad in anyway, other than fatty and we like them. Yet he would refuse as he is honouring his faith as we do.
It is a subtle role to take with my son, probably a bit over his head, but at the same time I know when I discuss complex topics with them it expands their understanding of better things (here a little there a little sort of idea). For him to understand that he needs his own testimony, I challenged him to take up the promise of Moroni. It is the best solution before moving into a more challenging period of his life.
As a father this is when I feel most like Heavenly Father, when I have done all I could, taught the principle, attached the promise yet knowing I cannot make him do it. It is both sad and exciting as you see your kids mature.
Anyways that is it for tonight.