velvet and steel fathers in training

(Photo is a stock photo from

~by Michelle

My son was at a Young Men’s camp this week (where we live, the Church’s Young Men’s program is merged with the Boy Scout program). It may sound simplistic, but I felt like he came home a better young man.

Of course there were all the elements of camping — smelly latrines, campfires, silly antics (this time it was mini flame-throwers in boys-will-be-boys style). There are probably things he hasn’t told his mother about other such antics, and maybe that’s for the better.

But I could tell that something more went on at the camp.

They held twice-daily devotionals, one focusing on Duty to God principles (Duty to God is the program for young men in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), and the other focusing on different people from history who exhibited “velvet and steel.” I still have yet to hear more about this, but like my son said, “You can sort of figure out what it meant.”

I am grateful for the leaders who took the time to plan a camp that would be fun but also meaningful. They allow the boys to be boys, but also are mentors for them to learn what it means to be a man, a priesthood holder, a future husband and father, a man of God. They gave them opportunities to not just learn but to teach. Each young man had a turn preparing and sharing thoughts for their devotionals.

Today is Father’s Day. And today, I’m thinking not only about my own father, and about my good husband who loves our children with all his heart, but about the future father my son will be. And about how the Church‘s Young Men’s program is helping him to grow up to be a man of velvet and steel — a man of compassion and gentleness, a man of courage and strength and conviction and commitment.

This to me is what the priesthood is about. It makes my momma heart happy to send my son off for a week and watch him come back even more committed to be a person who cares about God, faith, family, love, service, purity, goodness.