Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Meddling Old Codger

I am friends on Facebook with a young man that I met when I was teaching piano lessons to the spanish branch. When I first met him he wasn't really converted to the church, but attended anyway out of respect to his parents. Over time he has become converted, and gained the desire to serve a mission. His papers are in, and he is waiting for the call. But today on Facebook I saw that he used some VERY bad language. Maybe I'm meddlesome, but I called him on it. I just said, "language...". His friends replied and called me a name. I ignored them, but wrote him a personal message. I told him that I knew he was waiting for a call, and that I thought his language should be appropriate for that of a missionary. I told him I knew that he would be attending the temple soon, and that people who attend the temple don't use that kind of language. I told him that I knew he was capable of more, and that I have high standards for him.

Part of me wonders if it was even my place to make such statements. But I just couldn't help myself. I have had many talks with him over the past few years. He used to come to talk to me after piano lessons, and told me about his troubles. I have watched him grow, and I know he actually does want to be a missionary. But he lives in a different culture. His parents are recent converts, and don't really understand much about mission life. I'm not even sure if they have been to the temple yet. He doesn't have a lot of LDS friends that he hangs out with, and if he does, they are also recent converts who are still trying to learn what it means to be "mormon". But a kid like him, who is about to make sacred covenants in the temple, and become an ambassador for the Lord, should set higher standards.

I'll admit that my own children don't use language that I think is appropriate for missionaries. I tell them what I think, but in the end it is their choice. Perhaps this young man will do the same. I have another friend on facebook who is the son of one of my best friends. He is bi-polar, and has some behavioral problems. He swears up a storm on facebook, and always discusses inappropriate topics. But in his case, I know he is not on the missionary track. I don't call him on his language because he has chosen a different path. But this kid is different. And I guess I"m a little protective of the temple as well. I don't want uncleanliness in my temple. :) And so I feel that if I don't speak up now, that in a way I am a contributor to this young man's behavior. His reaction may not be good. He may never speak to me again. But I can't sit by and not teach him a better way. And maybe I just am a meddling old codger. :)


Nene said...

I think you did the right thing. You are obviously a bit of a mentor to him and he has listened to you before so may again. As an ex-Seminary teacher, I always wondered if I was ever getting through to my students. In the past few years I have had 2 ex-students come to me and tell me that my influence helped them decide to serve a mission (both boys). It surprised me quite a bit but you know, sometimes personalities just mix well, and when that happens, you are definitely influenced by each other.

Marla said...

You might be the only one speaking the truth to him right now. Never apologize for that.