Payton turned 12 in February which meant he was now old enough to receive the Aaronic Priesthood.
There are a few other milestones, privileges, experiences that come along with turning 12 in our church and he got to experience two big ones this week.
NUMBER ONE. On Wednesday the youth of our ward went on a temple trip to the nearby Las Vegas temple to perform baptisms for the dead. Info here. At Family Home Evening a few days before we discussed what it would be like and answered all of Payton's questions. We explained what a blessing it is that we can perform this temple work, as proxy, for those who have passed on who didn't have the chance to hear or accept the gospel in this life. The choice is still theirs but the path has been opened up for them.
Scott also went along as a leader and ended up doing all of the baptisms for the youth in our ward. Everyone got to do 5-10 names but there was still a stack of about 30 male names when they reached the last boy. Who happened to be Payton. So . . . . you can guess what happened next. :) Not getting out easy for his time!
I tried to snap a couple photos of the boys before they left and this one was the best of the bunch. Love it.
NUMBER TWO. Today, Payton gave his first talk in sacrament meeting. Now, speaking for 4-5 minutes in front of a congregation of 300 people this is definitely a step up from the 2 minute talks in Primary. We came home and made a video recording to share with anyone interested.
He did a FANTASTIC job. He was well prepared. He spoke clearly. And he delivered a great message.
NUMBER THREE. One more milestone. As Payton referenced in his talk, last month he got to attend the Priesthood Session of General Conference for the first time. And Scott made a special occasion out of it by taking him to Salt Lake City and attending the conference session in person! You'll have to watch the video to hear his perspective of the experience.
I'm so glad my kids - and the youth in the church in general - have these wonderful experiences and responsibilities that push them to learn the gospel, live it, and serve others. In a world where the focus of many kids is on what is fun, entertaining, & easy I am thankful that my kids have opportunities to stretch themselves, think of others, discover & strengthen their values & the core of who they are, set life goals, and take steps to achieve those goals.
I am so proud of the person that Payton is becoming.