Sunday, January 22, 2012


Back when I was 21, I was a substitute teacher in Orem, Utah. I sometimes worked at an elementary school and sometimes at the high schools. It was back when I looked very young. Sometimes the students didn’t believe I was the substitute and I was even stopped in the hallway and asked to show my hall pass a few times. (Those days are long gone, sadly.) I substituted in Spanish, French, biology, English, all classes I could handle.

Until one day, I got a phone asking me to substitute in the weight training class. WHAT? I have never been athletic and knew nothing about weight lifting equipment. The secretary on the phone assured me that I didn’t have to know anything because the students do. I just needed to be there (babysit). I could do that.

When I got there, I found out that it was a boy’s weight lifting class. The young men did know what to do. It was so funny to see them talking to each other about “guy stuff” and challenge each other and show off. Someone in the class came and told me that they always watch MTV during class. Well, I’m not stupid. I know students lie to the substitutes all the time. But I was 21 and bored and I wanted to hear music, so I told them they could turn it on.

I have to admit that back then I was not as careful as I should have been with the music I listened to. I never watched rated R movies or any that I felt wasn’t appropriate, but I wasn’t as particular with music. (Now I don’t even watch MTV, so I have changed my ways.) I wasn’t even watching the videos, but I was listening to the music while making sure the kids didn’t throw dumbbells or whatever. Suddenly, one of the young men got up and turned the TV off. Silence.

With the music stopped, I looked up. I remember him saying something to his friends in the class about the trash on TV, but I can’t remember what he said. Not a person complained or tried to turn it back on. I felt so bad. I was the adult in the room and I felt like I was a pretty good person. I let Satan into that room with all those youth who I was in charge of. I didn’t notice what was on the video, but I should have been paying attention. I wish I could go back in time and not do that…or at least to tell that young man that he was my hero and would be for years to come.

I still often think about how that young man stood up for what he knew was right, in that room where everyone was trying to prove how strong they were, how big their muscles were. In that room, he showed what a man he really was, what a good priesthood holder he was, what wonderful boyfriend/husband/father material he was for some young woman. 

Today, I was watching some videos of Andrew Horton’s talk from a BYU Education Week. If you’ve never heard of him, he has several youth talks on CD like Laugh It Up!, Building a 3D Testimony (I haven’t heard this one yet), Getting Past Imperfect (have it) and several others. Funny and spiritual. Well, while I was watching this series of videos from his talk today, Andrew Horton suddenly tells a story that seems identical to the one I just told you AND it was in Orem in a weight lifting class. Could it be the same young man? Mine was years ago so maybe it was another young man in the same exact situation who did exactly the same awesome thing. Wow! If you don’t believe me, check out the story he tells 2 minutes 50 seconds into it. It is video 10 of a series of 13, so you could go to You Tube and watch all of them if you’d like. (Once you watch this one, you'll want to go watch them all with your family. I just know it.)

I wanted to invite all of you to write a blog post on a hero you know or have just seen and don’t even know and then I was going to have a link-up to them here, but I can;t find a free one like I used before. But if you do write a post, please leave a link to it in my comments here and I’ll add your link to the post! Then we can all be uplifted by people who are not afraid of standing up for what’s right or for living their lives the way they should be even when they think no one is watching because that’s who they are.

Finally, I just wanted to close with a song, of course.

Hero by Sanctus Real

You might think, you'll never be the one to save the day
Or do anything that matters in the world
But God can take your ordinary life and do great things
When you step out in faith

You don't need to be the biggest in life
Don't need to be the strongest to fight for what's right
Cause a hero's great for who they are inside
Don't need to be the tallest in line
You could be the smallest in size
And if your heart's right, you could be our hero tonight

So will you take, the little that you have, and make a change
For the weak and helpless in the world
If your embrace the journey thats before you, lead the way
Your faith will guide you
And in your weakness, you will find your strength

Don't need to be the biggest in life
Don't need to be the strongest to fight for what's right
Cause a hero's great for who they are inside
Don't need to be the tallest in line
You could be the smallest in size
If your heart is right, you could be our hero

And if you feel afraid, when the road ahead looks hard
Follow your heart

You could be the flame, for a world that fears the dark
Brighter than the stars

Don't need to be the biggest
Don't need to be the strongest
To do what's right
Cause hero's are great for who they are inside
Don't need to be the tallest in line
You could be the smallest in size
And if your heart is right, you could be our hero.


  1. Ithink we all have had events in our lives that we want to re-do. Great story and video of Bro. Horton's talk. It's good food for thought this Sunday night.

  2. That is an amazing young man and had to have taken courage.
    I'm going to think about my hero.

  3. Brother Horton was my seminary teacher! I loved his class. As a matter of fact, he was my teacher when I read the Book of Mormon for the first time. Thanks for this message!

  4. Jared! Then it was at Mountain View. Crazy!!

  5. Cool story. I have been thinking...can't think of stories like that. But thanks for sharing your's.


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