It’s that time of the year again when families are getting back to the routine of life. After a fun-filled and carefree summer, it’s time to regroup and reprioritize our lives. There are school supplies that need to be purchased, new teachers to meet, and friends to reconnect with.
In our family, with our oldest entering high school, there comes a new adjustment: seminary. Given that both my wife and I are adult converts to the church, seminary has always been a mystery to us. For those not as familiar, seminary is a time when kids from 14 to 18 years old choose to attend a class which teaches them about the scriptures.
In some cases, seminary class can take place during school hours. When that’s not available, there’s a different option called, “early-morning seminary.” When I say early morning, I mean REAL early. Kids have to get up at 5 a.m. to attend class from 6 to 7 a.m., then get back home for a quick breakfast before dashing off to school!
What this means, of course, is that parents also have to get up this early. I don’t know about you, but getting up while it’s still dark outside did not sound so appealing to me initially. After a week of taking three teenagers from three different homes to seminary, I have had a complete paradigm shift! Not only have they not complained, but they actually seem like they want to be there and on time, no less! If that’s typical of teenagers, I’d be very surprised.
All I know is that when I drop them off they have a cheerful disposition. They laugh and tease each other and go off to class. These kids are certainly not unique. Since I usually wait for them, I see dozens of other moms and dads drop off their kids. Most of them seem eager to be there although a few look a little sleepy, which is totally understandable.
My question is: what inspires young men and young women to do this every morning?
Is it to please their parents, or is it because it’s expected? Perhaps a little bit of both, but that wouldn’t explain their happy disposition. You can make someone go, but you certainly can’t force them to like it! I believe they have a sincere desire to learn more about the scriptures and the gospel. I have heard from numerous seminary students over the years that it helps them with their priorities in life. It starts their day off on a spiritual note and brings peace to their hearts and minds.
One day last week, I walked the kids inside the classroom, so I could meet their teacher and then I waited and watched for a few minutes. It was shortly after 6 a.m. when I heard them singing a hymn. Instantly, I felt a tremendous reassurance that all was well in the world, at least in our small part of the world. In the midst of all the uncertainty and turmoil, all is truly well. Our youth are the leaders of the future. I am comforted by their dedication, diligence and discipline to do the difficult things such as early-morning seminary. They are my modern-day heroes!
One more note: Over the years we’ve tried really hard to get our kids to bed on time but to no avail. It had been a source of frustration, but early-morning seminary, seems to have taken care of this issue. Our son went to bed at 7:30 p.m. last night, on his own no less! It’s a modern-day miracle!
Dr. Elia Gourgouris is a nationally known speaker, relationship coach, and the president of LDSCoaching.com. With over 20 years of experience, he has inspired thousands of individuals and couples to find greater happiness and fulfillment, both in their careers and their personal lives. He holds a degree from UCLA and a Ph.D. in psychology. Dr. Gourgouris speaks to groups around the country regarding women’s issues, self esteem, communications skills, and relationships. He is also a favorite presenter at both BYU and BYU-ID Education Weeks, and Time Out for Women conferences. He is the author of “DTR: What You Need to Know Before You Get Married” and he has an upcoming CD entitled “The Multi-Platinum Marriage: Going from Just Surviving to Thriving!” He and his wife, Sona, live near Boulder, Colorado, with their children.