My son-in-law is preparing to become a commercial airline pilot. As I have watched him work toward his goal, I have learned that the training and examinations are rigorous. He has spent years studying and practicing, obtained a private pilot license, flown hundreds of hours on his own and with certified instructors, and passed intense written, verbal, and practical examinations.
When he finally completes his preparation he will know, and the airline that employs him will know, that he is truly ready to fly. They will also know they can trust him to safely carry passengers from one destination to another.
Informal interviews with flight instructors—conversations, really—have been a constant part of my son-in-law’s training. Their guidance is invaluable.
“Talking things through with them, especially as we fly together, answers a lot of questions,” my son-in-law says. “They point out areas where I need to improve, and that enables me to work to become fully qualified.” These preliminary “interviews” prepare him for a final interview required to obtain a commercial license.
As I have thought about what it takes to become a commercial pilot, I have been struck with the similarities between flight training and missionary preparation, particularly when it comes to conversations and interviews between youth and their parents and leaders. Over time, frequent, informal discussions with parents and leaders can help children learn general principles, and help youth be ready for the formal interviews that can lead to full-time missionary service.
Interviews are a part of life—school admission interviews, job interviews, and performance appraisals, for example. In the Church you have a baptism interview, bishop’s interviews, temple recommend interviews, as well as interviews for serving a mission.
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