Cary and I got a phone call on Wednesday asking if Cuauhtli would be willing to give a talk on Sunday. We gladly accepted for him. *note-if it were us, we would accept albeit not as happily. ;) *
Cuauhtli was given the topic of Choice and Accountability. I was teaching the Young Women today about Self-Reliance- and Growing and Maturing in it. The two went hand-in-hand. Cary and I allow/encourage/make the kids write their own talks and come up with their own stories to share. After all, they want to hear their words, not ours.
Cuauhtli spent a day writing his talk. It was only supposed to be 2 minutes or so, and he had a page or two written. Cary read it and approved and told him to come up with a story to share. We left it alone and made sure he was prepared this morning before church. He was pretty nervous, but he was prepared.
We were excited to hear what he had to say.
We sat down in our usual row in the very back of the chapel. Yep, we take up an entire row of chairs. All seven of us.
We did what we do, and Cuauhtli started walking back toward us to sit down. We shooed him back to the front, and he ran, ever so reverently, back to the front.
He was first up on the program.
His name was called.
It's pretty much a given that the name gets butchered, but the kids are really great sports about it and understand that most people, including their parents, have a very difficult time making our tongues form those sounds.
He stood and they lowered the mic. Then, they lowered it some more. His little head was barely poking above the podium.
Of course, fate was fighting against us and the speakers weren't turned on/working properly, but we were able to hear most of it. He stood, bravely, reciting the words that he had written a few days earlier. He seemed, to me, unnerved by it all. He finished the written talk and said, "So, now, I'm going to share a story about when I felt the Holy Ghost and made a right choice that was hard for me."
The kid proceeded to tell a story that Cary and I hadn't heard before, and I started crying. He shared with the congregation about being removed from his birth mother and being placed with us the first time, then being removed "from my parents, Cary and Amanda" and was with his birth mom again. The story began when he went back to live with his birth mom for a short while before coming "home" for good. He and Tonathiu were with some older boys, Tonathiu's friends. They were "kinda thugs" and had found a pack of smokes and a lighter. The boys began smoking and gave one each to Cuauhtli and Tonathiu. Cuauhtli took it, but didn't smoke it and threw it away. He said then he went to "pray about it and thank Heavenly Father for helping me". He shared how he remembered coming to church with us and things he learned and knew that it was a bad choice and that it wouldn't make God happy.
Probably one of the proudest moments I've had as a Mom. He knew what he was supposed to do because he learned it from great teachers in Primary, from wonderful examples in our ward, from Friends and Family who show us what it's like to be a true Latter Day Saint.
I have no doubt in my mind that had he not had those experiences in our home, he would have taken the cigarette and smoked it. Sadly, that's the way the cycle goes.
He broke the cycle that day.
And, he started a new one.
He ended his talk and came
The Strength of Youth.
They Are Amazing.