When I was 7 years old my Dad did some really cool things in preparation for my baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I have done them with my kids and have loved watching how it helps them grow.
I remember being alone with my Dad when he asked me who I wanted to baptize me. Naturally I wanted him, but he assumed nothing and he made sure that I could choose anyone I wanted. He even helped me brainstorm my possible options. He wanted to make sure it was my choice.
This is the same way he approached the idea of me even getting baptized. He never assumed I wanted it. He asked me to pray about it and let me know that it was my choice if it was something I wanted to do. He spoke of this very seriously with me. I knew it was my own choice and that it was a sacred choice.
After deciding who would baptize me he proceeded to ask me who I wanted to be in my confirmation circle. He counseled me to choose men that would help guide me through life. Ones that were already there for me now and that I would be able to talk to or turn to for help in my life. I choose carefully. We made a list. He then asked me to call each of them and personally invite them to participate! This was incredible for me then and made such an impression on me. My Dad taught me so much in that encounter. He taught me how to make decisions for my own life and he taught me how to reach out and ask for something I needed or wanted. He was also teaching me to have a hand in planning my own baptism, instead of just showing up.
After my baptism I was with my Mom in the dressing room. She gave me a small gift. As she did she told me of her and my Dads love for me. I opened the gift. It was a small necklace that said, "I am a child of God." She shared her tender feelings with me about her love for her Heavenly Father and Savior and she told me she was proud of me. She put the necklace on me.
These small actions that my parents did have stayed with me all these years and I have repeated them for each of my kids. It has been amazing to see how these little actions help them grow, take responsibility and then treasure the choice.
Just barely when my son Tyce was baptized, after getting into dry clothing, he went up to the front of the room to be confirmed. I watched as he sat down in the middle of the circle of men forming around him. He looked to make sure all those that were invited to participate were coming to the front. It was incredible to watch as I knew what was going through his mind. it made my momma heart swell. So grateful for good examples of my parents.
AND can I just share my favorite treat leading up to baptism? We aim to do a few family nights in preparation for the big event. We do this in advance so that the child turning eight would have time to process the choice they are making and pray about the choice and to really see how he or she feels about it. After one of these family nights I love to get the little elf cookies (you know the ones filled like an Oreo but shaped like an elf?) then we dip them, ALL THE WAY, into the milk. It's just a fun one!