The young people of our day need faithful mentors to set examples of righteous living. May we always remember our duty to teach our young friends and point them towards the Savior.
When I was in Florida for winter vacation a few weeks ago, I went back to my high school for a day to give presentations to the film classes about my job as an editor for BYUtv.
After I had done several presentations and eaten lunch, I sat down at the front of the classroom and waited for the next set of young men and women to trickle into the room. As they began entering, most of them greeted their classmates enthusiastically and began to engage in light-hearted chatter. I noticed one young man, however, sitting in the back with a tough, expressionless look on his face. He stared straight ahead, and unlike the rest of the students, he sat alone. I felt like I needed to help him, so after saying a quick prayer in my head, I decided that I would add a few extra comments at beginning of my presentation.
The bell rang and the teacher introduced me to his class. I stood up to begin.
“Before I start, can I tell you a little about my family?” I asked the class. Everyone nodded.
“My dad came to the United States when he was in his twenties. He didn’t speak English or have any college education.”
I noticed a few of the students look up. I knew that many of them probably belonged to migrant families whose parents had arrived to the US in the same condition.
“However, my dad has always been a hard worker. In my teens, he sometimes worked two or even three jobs at the same time. One day, after I had graduated high school and moved away, I received news from my dad that after many years of work, he had been appointed as the store manager over Dollar Tree in Tampa.”
The room was quiet.
I finished, “I wanted to tell you that story because no matter what your background, you can accomplish anything if you’re determined to do it.”
I looked at the young man who had been sitting alone in the back of the room. His arms were raised with his hands behind his head, as if he were leaning back in lazy disinterest. Suddenly, however, I noticed that his hands were moving. They were clapping silently, hidden from view of anyone in the room except for me. I looked at his face and he was looking straight at me, still without expression, but in his own toughened means of communication, he was letting me know that he was proud of my dad, and that my story meant something to him.
I don’t know the details of this young man’s life: perhaps he was involved in a gang, perhaps life’s experiences had hardened his emotions, or maybe he was simply having a bad day. But inside, all men have the light of Christ that helps them recognize truth.
The young people of our day need faithful mentors to set examples of righteous living. They also need parents who constantly find opportunities to teach. Schools do not have the capacity to provide personalized moral lessons to each student, and a set of restrictions by society is not enough to motivate moral behavior.
Jesus Christ set the example of how to minister to young people. Immediately after blessing a group of little children, He came upon a rich young ruler and taught him, “Go and sell that thou hast… and come and follow me” (Matthew 19:21). Because of His love towards the children and the young ruler, their lives were changed forever.
Nobody knows what a boy is worth,
We’ll have to wait and see.
But every man in a noble place
A boy once used to be.
May we always remember our duty to teach our young friends and point them towards the Savior. Indeed, “the worth of [all] souls is great in the sight of God” (D&C 18:10, emphasis added).