New Sunday assignment.
I've been teaching in the women's organization about once a month, but this is a twice weekly deal–and the class? Twelve and thirteen year old girls.
Seventeen of them.
I have been struck, lately–even before I got the call–with the variety and beauty of the young women I see all around me. When I was that age, I didn't see it. There were girls who were popular or pretty in one way or another, but there were clouds in the sky and leaves on the trees too. None of these facts were particularly striking. I certainly didn't recognize any beauty in myself. When Paul told Timothy, "Let no man despise thy youth," do you think Timothy applied that advice personally? Did he value his own youth and the power of it?
Maybe I'm just getting old enough to recognize the beauty inherent in budding youth–simply because I no longer possess it. Or maybe God has been preparing me for this assignment–to recognize the value of the girls I will be teaching each Sunday and interacting with each Wednesday night at youth activities.
I am reminded of an address given by Gordon B. Hinckley a few months after his wife of 67 years passed away. He spoke of the nobility of women in our lives and throughout history, starting with Eve, calling her creation the "grand summation of all the marvelous work that had gone before". He cited the noble examples of Ester, Naomi, Ruth, the New Testament Marys, Martha, and the fact that it was to a woman the risen Christ first showed himself.
Hinckley was a man in love with his wife and deeply concerned with the happiness of women the world over. Standing in front of that classroom of girls I wanted them to see themselves as I did–as President Hinckley did–as their Father in Heaven does. But I could see it in their eyes–they don't comprehend their own staggering potential. Not yet.