This is Rock and Rock loves lacrosse. He practices whenever he has a chance. He devours the lacrosse magazine that comes to the house each month. He has seen a couple of lacrosse movies and he might even dream about lacrosse.
When Rock learned that the first game of the spring season (these are photos from last fall... I am so slow at getting things posted) would fall right in the middle of the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference he immediately knew he had a decision to make. Would he go to the game or would he watch conference?
As a family we guard the Sabbath with great sacredness. We love our time together as a family and do everything we can to keep Sunday's holy. We have never made any rules about conference or Saturdays. This dilemma to play or not was all of Rock's own making. I was shocked that he would immediately think about the sacredness of General Conference and as I was about to alleviate his trouble mind I felt a quiet but profound prompting that I should let him work this out on his own. So I told him that it was his decision and I would support him in whatever way he decided.
Later that day (two weeks before the actual game) he came into the studio and asked if he could talk to me. I waited and listened and he said told me he had decided to not play at his game during General Conference. I told him I thought he was making a very courageous choice and that I would shoot his coach an email telling him we had a family obligation and that Rock would not be at the game. Rock said, "But mom, aren't we suppose to stand up for who we are as members of Christ's church? Should we be happy with our choice to listen to the prophet's voice instead of playing a game?"
I was stunned. I have sent many emails and made many phone conversations telling people, even members of our own faith, that we would not be participating in something because of a family commitment when the reality was we were attending some faith promoting event. He was my preteen son telling me that he was not ashamed of his membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and he was going to tell his coach that he would be listening to conference instead of participating in the game.
When I asked him why he felt so strongly about telling his coach he said, "Mom, we read about prophets in the scriptures, about other members of the church who stand up for what they believe. We need to the same thing." As he walked about the the room to go grab something to eat I thought about the many lessons my children teach me everyday. I am humbled by their convictions and desires to do good in the world. We try and teach them as parents, but the reality is they have far greater understanding as small people than I do as an adult.
Rock wrestled with this decision for two long weeks. After each practice he would come home and say, "I'm going to go to the game" and then a few hours later he would say, "I'm not going to go." We reminded him that we would support him in whatever he chose. Even conference Saturday at noon he changed his mind to go and immediately stopped and said, "No, I'm staying there will always be more lacrosse games."
I understood his agony and was so thankful that as a teenager I had made the decision not to play any games on the sabbath. I could tell him of the championship game that I missed because it was important for me to keep the sabbath day holy, even though there were other members of our church on the team that made different decisions. I could tell him how my mother supported me and helped me through the disappointment I felt by letting my team down. I could also tell him that I would not make a different choice if I had to do it again. I learned so much about who I was and who I wanted to be.
My little man, I hope you will always remember the choice you made to skip this game and listen to the words of the Lord's servants. You taught me a great deal and helped me remember many things that I value and why they are important to me. Thank you for letting me write this story here. Perhaps someone else will be blessed by your example, but more importantly it is part of our history and one day you will be able to help one of your children when they wrestle with a difficult decision. I love you little man!
The next few pictures are of Tank. He chose not to play lacrosse this spring. He finished the season last fall even though he quickly learned he disliked the sport. Tank is not an aggressive person, especially not when it comes to competitive sports. We support him in his decisions, but we also feel it is important to finish what you have started.