The other day I had this thought: "Derrick and Captain Moroni have a lot in common." I also thought, that if it was Derrick who was leading the Nephites into battle time and time again, he probably would have done it much like Moroni did.
Captain Moroni always had a well thought out plan, taking into consideration all scenarios and possibilities. Derrick does that too. They are both men of action! They don't just speak it; they do it regardless of what is required of them. Alma teaches a pattern that exemplifies how both of these amazing men work. Alma 32: 43. "...Ye shall reap the reward of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you." As a little boy, I saw this gift and pattern manifest in Derrick. He has always been a goal-setter. Many people are! But what separates him from the others is how he goes about accomplishing his goals. It is impressive to say the least. He makes a plan and sticks with it.
Faith - Faith is a word denoting ACTION! Derrick does not overly speak his goals. He just does them. I expressed to him the other day that dad and I would love to go to the Rome, Italy Temple dedication next year. He asked me how serious we were in this desire. I answered his question and told him we would love to go with him and Brittney. Derrick simply said: "OK, let's do it! Start saving and so will we." I don't perceive having this conversation with him again, not until we start to make our travel plans at least. In his mind the goal is fixed, and the action of faith of going on this trip now begins.
Diligence - Just as Captain Moroni was wise and strategic, so is Derrick. He studies out his course of action. I will never forget his senior year in college as he prepared to interview with possible employers. He would call me (* I adore... beyond adore, how Derrick has always called me and make me feel part of his life ) and tell me how he had prepared for a particular interview. I was always blown away by what he told me. He would study and learn all he could about the company he would be interviewing with. He would know all the facts, figures and details that would show his interest and desire to be part of the company. It did not stop there. He would study for weeks on how to execute a positive, impressive interview, whether in person or on the phone. He knew how to frame his answers; what kind of questions he should ask, what he should wear, tone of voice to use, etc., etc., etc. I loved hearing his plan of attack. Just like Captain Moroni, Derrick's diligence would pay off. His plan was impressive, strategic, and fruitful!
Patience & Long Suffering - Derrick is what I consider "a slow and steady" person. He does not make rash, or off-the-cuff decisions. I value this gift in him. It is a spiritual gift that I feel most great leaders possess. Derrick isn't swayed by the need for immediate gratification. He knows what needs to be done and just begins to do it, regardless of how hard or long it might take him. As a result, his patience and willingness to sacrafice has led to many great and wonderful accomplishments in his life.
Just a couple of days ago Derrick called and in the course of our conversation, he mentioned that he and Brittney were looking to move into new home. He didn't say much more than that, but this is what that simple exchange meant to me. I envisioned his course of action to be: 1. Derrick and Brittney would make an aggressive budget plan to accommodate this goal. They would count pennies, go without, reassess, save, and whatever else they needed to do to make this new home financially possible and appropriate. 2. They would then begin the looking process . Derrick & Brittney would study out neighborhoods, schools, ward, parks, shopping, work accessibility and any other imaginable thing that needed to be looked into. 3. Upon finding their dream home, they would still be cautious, prayerful and thoughtful until they knew it was exactly what they wanted and needed and where they should be.
Actions of faith, diligence, patience, and long suffering might seem like just common sense to Derrick............but it is so much more than that. It truly is a gift to be able to plan, wait, work hard, sacrifice, and then stick with it till the end result is what you had first envisioned.
This spiritual gift made Captain Moroni an amazing person and leader. It has made Derrick an amazing person and leader too. I make one final comparison between these two men. Captain Moroni's job was not to win wars. His job was to fight for freedom, liberties, God, and righteousness. Throughout the accounts in the Book of Mormon, we get a sense of the value he placed on life and his compassion for mankind.
When Derrick was four years old I enrolled him in a gymnastics class. The first class came and I sat in the stands watching my son, and anticipated a future Olympic gymnast. The very first thing the teacher did was to have all the children run around the perimeter of the gym. I, being very competitive and somewhat boisterous, and seeing that Derrick was at the back of the pack, yelled out for him to run faster. He didn't. In fact he and another little boy were behind all the rest and I could see them chatting back and forth with each other. I was frustrated and I kept encouraging (yelling) for him to run faster. Suddenly the other little boy tripped and fell. Shamefully I admit that I had the thought that at least Derrick will now have a chance to catch up without having this boy to talk to. That didn't happen. Derrick stopped; bent down and helped up his new friend and together, they continued their conversation as they happily came in last place. Derrick's job wasn't to be an Olympic gymnast. His job was to just be a good, kind friend. He has always had a sense of compassion for others. It was manifest as a four year old, and I see it manifest in who he is today.
Derrick, I have learned so much from you. The gifts that I mention in this post are gifts that I need to develop if I am to accomplish what I desire to accomplish. I use you as my pattern and example. I am grateful for your tender heart. Happy Birthday son. I love you. Mommy