President Henry B. Eyring: 'Help Them Aim High'
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Observing that every person is different and has a unique contribution to make, President Henry B. Eyring declared in his priesthood session address that "no one is destined to fail."
"As you seek revelation to see the gifts God sees in those you lead in the priesthood, particularly in the young, you will be blessed to lift their sights to the service they can perform," said President Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency. "With your guidance, those you lead will be able to see, want and believe they can achieve their full potential for service in God's kingdom."
President Eyring said that with his own children, he prayed for revelation to know how he could help each prepare for specific opportunities to serve God. "And then I tried to help them visualize, hope and work for this future."
He related that he carved a board for each son with a quotation from scripture that described that son's special gifts and an image that represented that gift. "Beneath the picture and the legend, I carved the dates of each boy's baptism and ordinations into priesthood offices, with his height marked at the date of each milestone."
When his oldest son became a deacon and an Eagle Scout, a picture of an eagle came to President Eyring's mind as he thought of his son and his future. He thought of the passage Isaiah 40:29-31.
As they two were hiking the peak of South Teton in Idaho, his son grew weary and said, "Will I always be sorry that we didn't make to the top? You go on — I don't want you to be disappointed."
President Eyring said he replied, "I'll never be disappointed, and you'll never be sorry. We'll always remember that we climbed here together." He said he carved at the top of his height board an eagle and the inscription "On Eagles' Wings."
"My son soared higher as a missionary than I had imagined in my fondest hopes," President Eyring remarked. "In the challenges of the mission field, some of what he faced seemed above his reach. For the boy you lift, it may be as it was for my son, that the Lord lifted him higher in preaching the gospel in a difficult language than I had thought possible. If you will try, with any young man, to sense his priesthood possibilities, I promise you the Lord will tell you as much as you need. The boy may have potential even beyond what the Lord will reveal to you. Help him aim high."
President Eyring said one of his sons was so shy he wouldn't talk to a clerk in a store. On that son's board, President Eyring carved, "Bold as a Lion" beneath an image of a large lion's head.
"On his mission, and in the years that followed, he fulfilled the hope in my carving," he said. "My once-shy son preached the gospel with great conviction and faced dangers with bravery. He was magnified in his responsibilities to represent the Lord.
"That can happen for the young man you are leading. You need to build his faith that the Lord can transform him into a servant braver than the timid boy you now see."
President Eyring said another son had a large circle of friends and forged bonds easily among people. "That led me to the account in the Doctrine and Covenants that describes the efforts of priesthood elders to build Zion in Missouri to the acclaim of angels who saw their contributions."
On that son's board, President Eyring carved, "Angels Rejoice over You." The image he carved had angels blowing trumpets.
The son's ability to influence people helped him "build outposts of Zion in the urban centers of America."
For one of his sons, President Eyring carved a sun and the words from the Savior's intercessory prayer, "This Is Life Eternal."
"My son has given priesthood service across three continents, but most importantly in his home and among his family," he said.
"The height boards I have described are only one way to help young people glimpse the grandeur God sees in them and the unique service He is preparing to give," President Eyring said. "He will help you see how to do it for your children or for other youth. But as you prayerfully seek to glimpse this future for yourself, and then to communicate it to the young person, you will come to know that God knows and loves each of His children as individuals and sees great and unique gifts in each of them."
He noted, "Now you may be thinking, 'Brother Eyring, are you saying that I need to learn to carve?' The answer is no. I learned to carve only with the help of a kind and gifted mentor, then-Elder Boyd K. Packer. What little skill I achieved can be attributed to his great gift as a carver and his patience as a teacher. Only heaven can provide such a mentor. But there are many ways you can shape children's hearts without carving wooden boards for them."