I believe in a strong family.
Some of my oldest memories are of me as a young boy on the icy rivers of Alaska. My dad, mom, brothers, sister and I would ride on a little boat to our secret fishing spots and see how many fish we could catch in a couple of hours. I remember the joy and feelings of accomplishment I would have as my dad helped me pull a particularly large silver salmon over the side of our boat, even though I always insisted I could do it myself.
As I grew older, I realized that maybe I couldn’t do everything myself. When I was in high school, I always felt like I could talk with my mom or dad about my problems. Having friends to talk to is one thing, but being able to comfortably discuss issues with someone as old and knowledgeable as my parents is a luxury I wouldn’t trade for the world. For example, when the time came for me to choose which university to attend and how to incorporate my mission somewhere in between, I was a little uncertain about what choices I should make. My initial plan was to not go to any college before my mission, and stay home and work this fall, then leave for my mission in January. However, my father let me know that might be the best option. He said, “Many local scholarship groups don’t understand the importance of a mission, and may interpret your decision simply as an excuse to procrastinate additional schooling.”
Taking this advice to heart, I decided instead to attend BYU-Idaho for one semester, and then hopefully take off for my mission. So far, everything has gone according to plan. Without the strong bond between my parents and me, I may have never asked for their advice, which could have possibly cost me thousands of dollars in scholarship money.
Now that I’m down here in Idaho, I’m away from home. Or am I? My older brother Benjamin and his wife, Amanda, are also going to school here. They have invited me over to their house on numerous occasions, sometimes for nachos, sometimes to watch a movie, or other times just to catch up. If my siblings and I had been raised in a home that didn’t emphasize the importance of family, we would have most likely grown distant from each other, making it unlikely for us to even look each other up after leaving the house. Being here at college, where everything seems to be new and intimidating, visiting my brother provides me with a constant, a reminder of home, and a reminder of family.
Any success in my life thus far I can attribute to my upraising in a home that emphasizes a strong family. I am grateful that family has played such an important role in my life, and I’m glad that I don’t have to, or any longer feel the desire to, do everything myself.