Today my son came to me grinning and confessed “I am still full from that feast on Saturday”. The look of contentment on his face warmed my heart. How lucky am I to get such a sweet son? It is no wonder my close friends and I were so delighted to find a way to spoil our boys.
In the weeks following my wonderful “Temple Night” for the girls, I had struggled to figure out what I could do for the boys to honor them as well. I wanted to do a similar evening for the boys, as I did for the girls, but I knew foot baths and tiara’s weren’t going to cut it 🙂 . Not knowing exactly what I was going to do I sent out the invitations
On Saturday I met with the boys at the designated spot. They all looked a little uncomfortable, few of them knew each other very well, and even fewer knew me and my son very well. Their parents were there too, and looked curious. It isn’t often their son get’s a royal summon to go on a dangerous quest I guess :).
We opened with a prayer, and then we discussed what a simulation is. I explained that each of them had got an invitation that asked them to prepare themselves by doing certain things. For some of the boys, the things that were on the list were things they were mostly already doing (saying prayers, reading scriptures, going to the temple, serving ect), for others, they were things that they had to really think about. How ever seriously they took the instructions, would determine how well they did on the quest I explained. I paraphased Churchhill statement that “Everyone of us will be figuratively be tapped on the shoulder to perform a deed that we were specifically qualified to perform. How well we were prepared for that moment would determine whether it would be our finest hour, or our saddest moment.”
I told them two stories to illustrate this point. Both were about a priesthood holder who was needed to give a blessing to someone in desperate need. One was not worthy and could not help, the other one was worthy and was able to do great good. I stressed that we would never know when our time to do that ‘noble deed’ would be and we all needed to be prepared. With that introduction I piled them in the waiting vehicles and we drove to my friends house.
My friend lives on 80 arces of foothill paradise, bordering a winding creek. She had spent all night planning this ‘quest’ and then setting it all out in the early morning hours through feet of snow. When we got there we were greeted with a circle of flags, and a “Lady” dressed in black!! After saluting the ‘squires’, she divided the boys into two teams headed up by a dad, gave them a compass, the first clue and a bag to put the things they found in.
Off the boys went through the snow, and winter forests. It was a beautiful day, with the mountain range in the background and the snow sparkling in the morning sun-having one of the boys on a horse added to the ambiance (he had hurt his foot and couldn’t walk as well). The boys found the first spot easily and read the scripture attached to a ‘temple recommend’. Next they found a mission call, then a piece of armor, birth certificate, ect. . . each item came with a scripture and each represented an important aspect of being a worthy priesthood holder that would be expounded on later that evening.
After an hour of trampling through the property, climbing trees, and crawling under fences, all the boys ended up by a barn where a basket of ‘squire lunches’ (a chunk of bread, pepperoni sticks, and cheese tied up in brown paper and twine) lay waiting for their consumption. There, one of the dad’s gave them fatherly advice about being worthy to hold the priesthood, about the importance of serving others and staying clean. They all listened well, ate gratefully and you could tell that they felt a greater comradeship than before. As I dropped them off (after having to be pulled out of the snow), I reminded them all to come to my house at 7:30 that night dressed in sunday clothes. They looked a bit weary-what boy likes to dress up if they don’t have too?? Little did they know what we had planned for them that night!
At 7:00 the first boy came. I was happy to send him downstairs instructing him to not look in the kitchen where my daughter, her friend, her friends mother and I were working. From the moment I came home at 2:00 the group of us had been slaving (literally) away cleaning, cooking, and decorating the house as fast as we could. I was exhausted and it still wasn’t done-we were supposed to be putting on the biggest feast (they didn’t know) that those boys had ever had. My daughter and her friend had made 4 apple pies and were anxiously making the last of the individual meat pies. The kitchen was a disaster but the dining room (hidden by some gorgeous fabric I found at the thrift store) was AMAZING!! I am serious, it was incredible. My niece came by to see what was going on (it is not often I do things without her mother-my sister, but since she had no boys I didn’t think it was fair to make her work). My niece was stunned and begged to be one of the ‘serving girls’ for the boys ‘since they served for us at the Daddy-daughter dance’ (which made me grin because I knew she just wanted in on the action). I told her that for sure she and her sisters could help serve and she eagerly called home to ask permission (she also told her mother to hurry down and see what we were doing 🙂 I love family 🙂 ) Thankfully, I was not responsible for all the food!!
At around 7:45 the last boy and their dad had arrived so we ushered the group into a candle lit room and we started the evening. My friend, once again dressed as a ‘lady’ entered the room and expressed her pleasure at the boys having completed their quest. We reminded the boys that in life they would never know when the ‘King’ would call them home, or ask them to do some ‘great thing’ and they needed to always be prepared. I was a bit nervous with the evening part because I had a bunch of boys and their dad’s there that I did not know very well. I hoped that they would see this evening as something ‘fun’ and unique and not a cause to stay away from me forever. I was glad I had a co-conspirer who knew the audience better than I.
After our opening speech our friend asked the first father to address the boys. He did, and well he spoke to the boys about the reality of the adversary and the fact that ‘though he had no power, we must be careful to stay on the Lords side’. The words of wisdom that came from that dad set a beautiful tone for the evening. My insecurities were laid aside, and I was able to better enjoy the evening.
It was partly through the first talk that my ‘special guest’ arrived. Going through the basement, my guest waited until the first ‘talk’ was through. With the loudest triumphant music I could find (star wars) I turned on all the lights and asked everyone to please stand. Everyone was very confused but stood obediently. The looks of shock, awe, and laughter that showed on everyone’s face as my ‘guest’- a full-fledged Royal Knight-armor, sword, helmet and all, stepped into the room was priceless. Those expressions alone were worth all the work we had put into the evening.
Everyone bowed as the “King” took his place at the head of the room. There was a murmur of awe when he took off his helmet to be more comfortable and wisely listened to the rest of the ‘talks’. A simple gold circlet crowned his head. Each father talked about a different subject. All of which came from this awesome talk by Sheri Dew called “Born To Lead” but straight from their hearts. After each talk they were given a gift: a recommend holder, batteries (power of god), flashlight (Light of Christ), a hygiene kit (to remember to keep clean) a small sword (to remind them to be truthful), and finally an “Whole Armor Of God” pin (to remind them to always be suited with the Armor of God).
After all the dad’s talked, the ‘King’ got up and talked to the boys about his own armor, and the importance of always following the commandments, and being faithful to God. He then stated that he had found all the boys worthy to be ‘knighted’. One-by-one the boys came up and he knighted them. He also premoted the three ‘pages’ to become squires. I had to stiffle a giggle when one of those pages literally threw himself at the feet of the ‘King’.
A prayer was given and then our trumpeter (yes we had a real trumpeter 🙂 ) announced that the “Feast was about to begin”. The curtains were pulled and there before those appreciative boys eyes was the truest medieval feast the mom’s and I could muster.
The table was adorned with silver dishes (clear glass dishes painted silver on the outside), and there was a variety of meat, pastries, fruit, breads, drinks and desserts–no utensils, only knives! The boys loved it. They admired the fancy dagger the ‘King’ ate with, laughed over the HUGE pepperoni I bought, they burped (took awhile to let them know it was really allowed) and had a blast. Us mom’s and girls were busy filling plates, taking pictures and eating ourselves! As the evening came to an end, I believe that all felt full, spiritually, emotionally and physically.