In August, our son turned 14 years old and entered high school. Just that transition alone is enough to stress out any mom – special needs teen or not. As much as I worried about my son moving to a huge school, I was more worried about his new morning routine.
I joined the church when I was 16 years old. My small branch didn’t have enough youth for seminary. So the whole early morning thing – wow. The more I thought about it, the more terrified I became. Would the loss of sleep cause melt downs? Would he be disruptive in class? Would he even understand the concepts the seminary teacher discussed? Would the other kids be nice to him? Would the new schedule of EVERYTHING overwhelm him?
Yes, I am mom. And yes, I worry, worry, worry.
I talked with the stake seminary leader, who suggested we try early morning seminary first. If that didn’t work out, we could sign up to be an online or home bound student. One thing I knew though was if we did an online class, it would be forgotten between all the craziness of sports, homework and youth activities.
So we prepped for early morning seminary.
We talked about the new routine. Wrote up a written schedule with items to do to prepare each morning (eating breakfast, shoes, scriptures, brushing teeth, etc) so nothing would be forgotten in those early hours when, honestly, mom is barely functioning. Even with all the prep, I was still terrified.
But then my son surprised me. He transitioned just fine. No bumps. No “holy moly get me outta here!” Not only that, but he LOVES seminary.
My son is one of those kids who doesn’t really talk about all the things wandering around in his head. Sometimes I think he isn’t listening during family night, then a few days later, he asks me more detailed questions. Seminary is like that for him.
My son is also a cross country runner. A few weeks into the school year, he started sharing his seminary thoughts on our drive home. It went something like this – "Today while I was running, I was thinking about Nephi and . . ."
It was the awesomest thing ever to have gospel conversations with my son. But he took it a few steps further.
He started outlining a story about a boy who finds an old arrowhead that allows him to see Nephi, who is still working here on earth to influence youth to make good choices. There are some awesome twists and turns he’s already plotted out. How exciting!
Then he shared his feelings about the gospel through his homework. For theater, he was given a bunch of wire and asked to create something. Isaac designed a snail. Now, we haven’t seen the new Turbo movie yet, but I thought it was probably inspired by that.
I was wrong.
As part of the assignment, he had to write a paper detailing why he chose that creation and what it symbolized to him. I was astounded as he described the snail and its symbols. That the outer shell symbolizes the armor of God and how it can protect us. That the snail is a good example because it moves slow, and how that if we slow down, we have more time to think and make better choices, which he then tied back to how choosing the right gives us protection from God.
What an amazing miracle seminary has been. I love that my son is absorbing the gospel, feeling Heavenly Father’s love for him, and the power of the Holy Ghost.
So, a note to moms and dads – it’s absolutely okay to worry about your children, but don’t let it hold your child back from exploring new things. You never know how it will help your child to grow and bless both of your lives.