So he's almost here. February 22nd and he'll be here. I can't wait. I have all these daydreams of showing him how to field grounders, catch flyballs, throw a knuckler, how to putt and chip (I should learn those myself...) and of course, talking to him about my mission.
When I was growing up, I just always knew that serving a mission was something I wanted to do. It never felt like a duty, and it certainly never felt like something I had to do. My dad, despite having a generally positive experience when he was a missionary, never felt like pushing any of me or my brothers into it because he felt like that would be counterproductive. Sure enough, I know I served with a few guys who weren't out there for the right reasons.
I really felt like my mission was worth it. I don't mean that in the "it sucked but it built character and was good for me" kind of way. I'm being genuine. There is very little to the experience that I regret and none of those things were incidental to being a missionary but rather my own shortcomings. There was no one person I did not love. There was no one place I did not call home - truly home. This is all to say nothing of the way I developed my relationship and testimony of the Savior. I know it sounds corny, but often I would just sit back and reflect on the fact that everyone that was around me was a child of God. He knew them: their names, their families, their jobs, their fears, their hopes, their dreams, their concerns, their emotions, their desires... He knew them. It was a healthy dose of perspective to realize that the Lord knew and loved them as much as He knew and loved me.
Clearly, I wish for my son to have the same desires and the same experiences. In fact, I'm convinced that it's the desires and state of one's heart that allows one to have one experience over another. I just want my son to want to go. If I say he has to, then is he going to be one of those kids that wants to do the opposite? (And speaking of such, it's not like saying "I *don't* want you to eat your vegetables! I forbid it!!!" makes them want to eat those vegetables anymore... Why is that? The whole "I do the opposite of what you say" thing only applies to what they want.) I don't want to force him, and I don't want him to go out of obligation. And yet, the Savior recoiled at drinking the bitter cup but did it because He knew it was His spiritual duty.
Here's what I will do: Fondly speak of my mission and speak of it often. I want him to know that I desire him to go, but that he should only go if he feels he should.
And if he doesn't, he's out of the family.