On my birthday in October 2007, we attended a session of General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Elder Quentin Cook shared a story about his son. One time when he was very little and couldn’t say his Ls, something wonderful happened (I don’t remember what). He exclaimed, “I’m a yucky, yucky boy!” Ryan and I have adopted that phrase and use it often.
About three weeks ago, I was one of the speakers in our Sacrament Meeting at church. The other speaker was Brent Nelson, a young man in our ward who is heading on his mission to the Philippines. He was the studentbody president last year at Woods Cross High School, and is a very cute and friendly guy. The Sunday that we both spoke, the entire chapel was packed, the overflow area was packed, and most of the cultural hall was full all the way back to the stage. There were hundreds of people there!
Ryan has recently become aware of the discrepancy in financial resources between our family and the families of his friends. Many of his friends have huge, beautiful homes, flat-screen TVs in their bedrooms, and every toy imaginable. He has also informed me that he is not in the MOST popular crowd at school, since he doesn’t play competitive little league football. Keep in mind that he participates in every other competitive sport. We have looked into football. It is almost $300 per session. That is obviously out of our tight budget.
The past several months, Ryan and I have had several discussions about his ability to be “popular” without having the biggest house, a flat screen TV in his room, or participating in football. After Brent Nelson’s farewell, we talked about Brent. His family lives in our neighborhood in a modest home. He did not participate in sports, but chose to participate in the high school musical groups. Yet he was elected to be the studentbody president by his peers, and therefore, one of the most popular kids at the school. Ryan and I talked about how much we love being around Brent because he is so friendly. He is always smiling, and always has a sincere interest in what people are doing. Everyone considers him to be their friend, because he treats everyone as a friend. I encouraged Ryan to use Brent as a model of the kind of person he wants to be, and to treat everyone with kindness and respect.
Only days after Brent’s farewell, we had Ryan’s SEP conference with his teacher. We talked about Ryan’s academic performance (great), his citizenship performance (wonderful), and his goals for this current term. As we were finishing up, Ryan’s teacher said, “May I share something with you that I’ve noticed about Ryan that I think is really, really neat?” Of course a mom always wants to hear good things about her kid, especially something that his teacher has observed! She said, “Ryan has an amazing ability to be a friend to everyone. His primary circle of friends consists of some of the most popular kids in the school, yet he is friendly and kind to even the least popular kids in the school. He always takes a moment to talk with someone who is alone, or help someone that he sees needs help with something. Kids like Ryan don’t come along very often.” I probably don’t need to tell you that I got a little teary during her comments. What a wonderful thing to hear after I had just challenged him to be that kind of a person!
Ryan’s teacher went on to say, “Ryan also has an interesting ability to interact with people of any age. I have seen him carry on intelligent conversations with adults that just amaze me. He is very knowledgeable in many areas, so it’s fun to watch him discuss things that most kids wouldn’t know anything about, or would be uncomfortable talking with an adult without their parents around. It’s fun to watch him interact with people.”
I am always proud of Ryan. He is such a great kid, a wonderful helper, and a thoughtful person. He works hard at everything he does. I know how amazing he is, but it is always fun to hear others tell me. I am truly a “yucky, yucky” mom!