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Friday, August 23, 2013

Counciling and Counselors

by Casey Peterson (bio)

We are a church of councilors, or counselors, or people affected by counseling with councils. I have served as a counselor in a bishopric, a high councilor, and currently in a position with two great counselors. I council with my family, with the ward council, work with a group of students called a service council which is located next to the counseling center on campus, and try to avoid situations requiring a disciplinary council or a marriage counselor.

In his book Counseling With Our Councils, Elder M. Russell Ballard encourages those with a sincere desire to lead organizations in spiritual and temporal purposes to "make sure you look for people who are strong where you feel you are weak."  Luckily that doesn't eliminate many people from consideration, as we all have weaknesses. We know that leadership opportunities provide us with a plethora of learning experiences, but many come from interactions from those we serve with in a leadership council, presidency, or group.

This week I have undergone one of the transitions in leadership change that has caused me to reflect and appreciate counselors. Our presidency group is diverse, very diverse. We range in age from 40-80 years old, in height from 6'5" to 5'5", have a strong left wing democrat, a staunch right wing tea partier, and very different occupational and educational backgrounds. However, it has been one of the most unified groups in purpose I have been part of. We are not devoid of individual imperfections, but collectively have been a strong group.

But as I write this and reflect, I realize the impact has not been in group performance, but in my individual growth. I have needed these men to support me, to correct me, and to teach me. I lost my father at a young age, and am acutely aware of male role model examples. From each of the group I have learned, been loved, and patiently been mentored. As my counselor was released this week, I realized he is a hero to me, a teacher for me, and a true friend. It is not the conversations about lessons, policies, and doctrines that I remember from him as much as the discussions on gardening, raising children, insights on people, testimony of the gospel, and love for our country. Every father should be able to learn from a dad like Lyle, every leader should feel the support of a counselor like Lyle, and every friend should learn what loyalty and love are from a friend like Lyle. I am blessed to say I have had this honor.

In an imperfect world I am touched and humbled to recognize a perfect gospel exists that allows teaching through so many methods. This allows that when we are in positions to teach and lead, we often are taught and led the most, and especially we are counseled by councils and associations with counselors.

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