I don't know when I came to know it, but for several years before I was married I knew that I would have a houseful of boys. I have joked that I like the idea of having boys, so then my husband has to do all the hard and awkward things, where with girls I would actually have to teach them how to be girls.
Last week's reduction in the age of eligibility for missionary service was another reminder of how much responsibility and trust I really feel in having boys to raise and teach. I know that they have an important work to do, and they are going to be required to prepare more fully in a shorter time than any past generation. While the focus of my high school career was getting ready for college and then seeing what would happen from there, they will need to be fully prepared for a lot of responsibility right away. There is a good chance that all of my boys will turn 18 before they graduate high school, so they could potentially be leaving immediately after graduation, then returning ready to jump in to college, seek out their eternal companions, and start family life. They will have to learn earlier than I did that the world doesn't have much of value to offer, and that they can't come unto Christ while remaining in it. They will need a depth and breadth of spiritual knowledge sufficient for the Spirit to be able to draw upon it to fill their mouths in the moment when they open it to teach. They will need maturity to go out on their own and trust in the Lord.
None of this is easily attained in high school, and I can only imagine that it has gotten worse since I have been there. I am inspired by the faith that our inspired leaders put in these boys and grateful for the call that makes it clear to them what their priorities should be from the beginning. I truly have a lot of work to do as the mom of boys! I have to prepare them to prepare the world for the Coming of the Savior. Quite a job!