My children have been so fortunate to have great teachers in their lives. In particular, their church teachers and Scout leaders have been really excellent. My oldest son has a really good church teacher right now who is a great influence on the kids he teaches. Recently he gave each of the young men in his class a gift. He gave each of them a tie and told them it was for their mission. He said that if they wear the tie on their mission, then bring it back to him, he will give them a prize. I have noticed my son wearing his "mission tie" to church the past month or so. It is a white tie with colored pin stripes on it. He is a Priest in our church, so helps with the Sacrament each week. Today as he was preparing the Sacrament, I noticed his tie, and I noticed that the ties of the young men with him looked vaguely familiar. Each one was white with colored pin stripes. Up to that point, I didn't realize that all the mission ties looked alike. I loved seeing today that each young man wore his "mission tie" to church.
I don't know if my son will choose to serve a mission or not. I hope he will. I know it will be the greatest experience of his life. I say this from experience. Serving a mission was one of the greatest things I have done in my life. I have never regretted, even for a second, the decision I made to serve a mission. Missions in our church are voluntary. Young men are encouraged to go, and are taught that it is primarily their duty. Young women are given the opportunity to go if they desire, but they are not as strongly encouraged as are the young men. I hope my son goes because I know that it will teach him things that he could learn in no other way. Two years is such a short time to give for a spiritual education that will last his entire life.