Beckie Hennessy was born and raised in West Valley City, Utah where she currently resides with her husband of 14 years and their 3 children. Beckie has been a therapist since 2007 and currently owns BRICKS Family Counseling, Inc. She is one of the professional therapists on the Advisory Board for Leading Saints and has recently started a podcast called The Path of Imperfection. She has written a book called Ministering Through Connection. Her best days are spent with her family as they watch movies together, blow bubbles in their chocolate milk and laugh until tears come. She loves to read, is a Pinterest addict and enjoys taking naps when she’s able.
Not many things make me legit freak out.
Mice. They make me scream while jumping onto whatever is nearby that will get me off the floor.
Boogers. When my kids decide to pick them, eat them, wipe them on anything but tissue…I may lose my ever-living mind a bit.
Enormous decisions or commitments like signing a mortgage…for 30 years…or deciding to have another kid (hand to the heavens with a hallelujah that the time and season for THAT has passed for me, bless all of you that are in this life space right now)…those constitute freak outs for me. My latest freak out?
“…We are pleased to announce that in January 2019 children will complete Primary and begin attending Sunday School and Young Women or Aaronic Priesthood quorums as age groups at the beginning of January in the year they turn 12…Young women and ordained young men will be eligible for limited-use temple recommends beginning in January of the year they turn 12.…”
Let me explain.
As Stake Young Women’s President, I Was Absolutely Thrilled
What an awesome time to be a leader in the Church! Our youth are so insightful and so eager. This will get more youth in the temple and will help fortify conversion, thus helping in this great gathering of Israel. This will make transitions to young women’s WAY easier. This could bolster our classes, discussions and give a firm foundation in our youth early on. Girls camp is going to ROCK!
As a Mom
As a mom of a girl who just turned 11 in November…I was absolutely terrified.
My 11-year-old baby could now enter the House of the Lord. She would be attending young women’s about a year before I’d expected. She was about to go to activities with 17 and 18-year-old young men. She would be having discussions and lessons about the law of chastity. She would have discussions, in church, about suicide (I know because I’ve taught them to other young women’s and young men’s groups).
The questions began rolling into my focus. Does she know what the Spirit feels like in her body and how it sounds in her head? Does she understand her worth and that it isn’t attached to what she does, says, thinks, feels or how she looks? Does she understand her baptismal covenants? Does she know how to speak up when she’s uncomfortable? Does she know she can come to me and her dad no matter what? Does she know what the values mean? Does she know the difference between priesthood authority and priesthood power? Does she know how to find answers to her gospel questions?
Catching my breath…bottom line…is she ready?
My head was spiraling and fear crept in. I started reaching out, phone calls, texting, getting opinions and thoughts of others. I googled how to cram a years’ worth of information in a child’s head safely…and I went to LDS.org and searched how to teach all of those ‘Does she…’ things to our daughter as quickly as possible.
And then came the shame.
I didn’t ___ enough. Why didn’t I ____? I should have ______. And then the truth 2×4 board that the Spirit keeps in his back pocket labeled “For Beckie” came out and whacked me right in the face.
Is she ready? Of course, she’s ready! She’s as ready as God needs her to be because if she wasn’t 100% capable of being in young women’s and entering the temple, God wouldn’t have told His prophet to make the change.
She has as much of a testimony as she needs right now. She comes from a home of two parents who love God and trust Him. Parents who believe in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Parents who listen to the Spirit (sometimes after getting hit in the face with it…).
It is time. And it’ll be ok.
Could We Have Done More?
I think the better question is does that really matter? Because we did the best we could. Lamenting about what we could have done, should have done, could have taught and should have taught doesn’t help her NOW.
They’re Ready…She’s Ready
This change is from God. If you’re doubting that, rumbling with that, questioning that, you are welcome here and that is ok. Go to Father. Get confirmation. Let Him connect your dots with it all in a way you need to hear, see or feel them connect. He’s a master at that.
As a leader, if you have some parents or youth that are still a bit nervous about this exciting change, please reassure them that the Lord is at the helm and you will be providing inspired watchcare for their child.
Let’s agree to not let Satan’s lies convince us that our kids aren’t ready, that it’s too scary, that it’s too much too fast and that because we didn’t _____enough, our kids will drown. They are a lot more comfortable in these waters than we think. Let’s teach our littles how to swim now by embracing this home-centered/church supported gospel.
If 11-year-olds look like they don’t know how to swim, jump in and teach them alongside them. If you don’t know how to swim, learn. Gone are the days that the back float will be enough.
It’s Going to Be Exciting
Boogers. I mean, I can’t even.
11-year-olds getting the chance to enlist in the youth battalion?
We’d better get ready too. As our dear prophet promised,
“There’s much more to come…wait until next year. Eat your vitamin pills. Get your rest. It’s going to be exciting.”