by Kari Diane Pike
Sometimes there are things moms are better off not knowing.
Me: "So how was your High Adventure? Did you have fun?
14-year-old son: "I had a blast! Rappelling rocks. (haha) The mountain biking scared the heck out of me. But that's okay. I only almost died 3 or 4 times. I loved it!"
I'm hoping he exaggerated. A lot.
What I discovered is that I didn't ask the right questions. The Sunday following this conversation, one of the Young Men leaders shared a another kind of experience the boys shared.
The second morning of the trip, Brother Woodward chose to remain in camp while the other leaders followed the boys to make sure they stayed alive for sure. A strong wind picked up, swirling dust and leaves around the seven tents the boys had set up in a sandy area where they could easily pound in their tent stakes and have a softer place to sleep. The wind intensified and it wasn't long before one of the tents lost its hold and blew over. Brother Woodward set the tent back up. The determined wind blew it back down.
Knowing it was fruitless to keep setting the tent back up, Brother Woodward left it alone until the young men returned to camp. He was curious about how they would solve the problem.
The boys went straight to work. They evaluated the situation and set the tent back up. They found longer stakes that would reach deep into firmer ground to strengthen its previously weak foundation. They placed sand and rocks around the base of the tent to add even more stability. The wind continued to blow through the night. The tent stood still.
My son came home stronger in so many ways. He learned he can do hard things. His testimony of repentance and obedience and of the power of the Atonement grew tenfold. He learned in a powerful way that the Savior made repentance possible and that when we discover that our foundation is weak, we can start over and strengthen it.
Would it have been better if the young men had set up their tents on firmer ground in the first place? Probably. It would have meant a lot less hassle later on. But what I love is that they had been taught what to do in such a situation -- and they did it. There have been so many times in my life when I didn't pay attention to my situation and I let my "foundation" weaken. How grateful I am for a knowledge of the gospel -- for the reassurance that even though I make mistakes, I can do better next time.
The other part of this story that touched my heart is the fact that the boys worked together to help each other succeed. They didn't stand around and say, "If there's anything I can do to help, let me know" -- while they watched their friends repair their tent. They grabbed a shovel or a hammer or a rock and got to work.
Now that's something worth knowing.