This morning Jack and I planned his baptism.
Jack will be unable to participate in the child of record baptisms due to a major conflict, so we’ve been given permission to hold his baptism on Saturday, March 23rd, just 6 days after he turns 8. This means that we are in charge of the program and various particulars of the day.
Jack made the choice that he would like to be baptized. We knew that it would be the most meaningful if it was his decision, not ours. Corey and I have been teaching him about what exactly it means to be baptized…why we do it, the covenants and promises that he would make, along with the blessings he would be given, etc. And while we certainly shared our testimonies with him and expressed our hope that he would make the choice to be baptized, ultimately he knew that he didn’t have to do it (which we absolutely meant!).
We are extremely grateful and proud of the enthusiastic desire he has shared with us to follow the Savior’s example and take this step.
Since the decision to be baptized was his, and since we have this unusual opportunity to make the plans ourselves, we felt it best that Jack be involved in the choices of the day. He has attended many baptisms, so he had a good idea what we needed to do. We sketched a basic outline, and then Jack filled in the “who’s” and “what’s.” I gave him some general guidelines… the hymns should probably be about Baptism, the Savior, or Family… typical participants are family, close friends, and primary leaders… and he made all of the selections himself.
Then because I thought it would be extra good for him, I made him do the asking of all the participants! After asking Truman to “be cute,” and Alaster to “be reverent,” at his baptism, he and I practiced what he would say to all of the adults involved. We did a little role play of the phone calls wherein we practiced being polite (identifying himself, how to ask, etc.) and grateful (no matter what the answer is you be sure to thank them!!!). We armed him with all the needed information he would have to communicate… date, time, hymn names and #’s etc. and then he was ready!
The first phone call was with Sister Larsen (his current primary teacher). He asked her to be the chorister. Things went pretty well… a little bit of our role play went out the window… but I was grateful that he communicated all the necessities and that he remembered to thank her. My favorite thing about the conversation was to see his nerves showing up in the form of him laying down on the floor and rolling all over during their talk. It was really, really funny and cute to watch! I wonder if she had any idea what he looked like on the other line!
Next he phoned Sister Skousen (a dear primary leader who also happens to be his piano teacher) to see if she would be the pianist. And lastly he wanted Sister Freestone (his wonderful Primary President, and a dear, dear friend of the family) to give the opening prayer. It all went great! Everyone was available and willing! Then at family dinner tonight he asked Gram and Grampa to participate with a talk and a prayer… and you know they were excited!
Now Corey and I are working on developing what our family baptism traditions will be. We know we want them to be mostly spiritual in nature. We know we want them to be sweet and simple things that will not detract from the actual ordinance being the most special part of the day. (Comments with suggestions are appreciated!!!)
One thing we know we are doing for sure is having Jack (and mom and dad too!) memorize Mosiah 18:8-10. We have obviously taught him this scripture, and we want him to memorize it, pass it off to us as parents, and then share it with the Bishop in his baptismal interview and explain to the Bishop what it means. So far it’s going great! This morning he copied it out on a piece of paper that he can look at every day, and before bed we mastered the first few lines!
It’s all very exciting getting ready! A part of me feels like I should be saying “I can’t believe Jack is already 8 and getting baptized!” But really? It feels just right 🙂 Jack is so bright, so capable, and so sweet. Over the last year we have noticed many positive changes in our first child. If you weren’t a close family member you might not be able to detect any differences, but those of us who really know and love him have seen him truly blossom into this wonderful, trustworthy boy… much more considerate of those around him, trying so hard to do what’s right, and truly being a help around the home. His prayers have become more meaningful. He’s taken the initiative to do things like praying and reading the scriptures on his own. He is learning to exercise agency properly and he’s making more of his own decisions. We guide and teach and discuss his problems… but we can end more of those talks now with “what are you going to do?” instead of “this is what I want you to do.” It’s a joy to see him grow in these ways!
I am so grateful for Jack. I’m so grateful for his choice to be baptized. I’m so grateful for a husband who is worthy and so, so eager to bless our family with the priesthood and to administer this ordinance for Jack.
And I am really, really looking forward to March 23rd!