During the BYU-Idaho Devotional on April 18, 2017, BYU-Idaho President Henry J. Eyring and his wife, Sister Kelly Eyring, spoke with students about the importance of friendship and how saying "hello" to one another can be more meaningful than you think.
President and Sister Eyring talked about the great opportunity and spiritual duty we have to strengthen and lift each other up. Sister Eyring shared a story about President Eyring's struggles with losing his hair due to a condition called alopecia.
"Henry really did look unhealthy, and his friends and business associates were worried," she said.
President Eyring said his new appearance - with a bald head - wasn't the biggest problem. "The real problem though, was persistent and emotionally painful case of mistaken identity," he said.
Shortly after President Eyring's hair loss, his father, President Henry B. Eyring - who also has a bald head - was called as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This caused him to be mistaken for his father in many occasions.
"My sense of self-identity was hard to maintain, and my confidence dropped," President Eyring said.
This experience helped the Eyrings to think more carefully about making judgments based on people's physical appearances. They noticed that even a look, negative or positive, could send a message. President Eyring challenged the students at BYU-Idaho to smile and say "hello" to people they pass on campus this week through a newly implemented online discussion board.
In an interview with President and Sister Eyring, President Eyring said the inspiration for the discussion board came from the school's learning model.
"It's important for us to have the learning model experience, things stick better when we are involved," said President Eyring. "The discussion board helps get people involved even before devotional begins."
During their devotional, there was a brief time for students to talk with others around them about their experience from the challenge to say "hello" to one another on campus. Sister Eyring called it "pair and share." Two students who participated in the weekly devotional discussion board were invited to the stand to share their experiences.
The Eyrings warned students of the temptations not to say "hello" and to go about their own business.
"Our purpose in this life is to lift our spirit brothers and sisters," said Sister Eyring. "They need us, and we need them, to withstand the constant temptations subtly put forward by our common adversary."
In conclusion, the Eyrings challenged everyone to remember who they are and to treat others with kindness and friendship.
"Each of us is truly a child of God, destined to receive all of the power and beauty of our heavenly parents," said President Eyring. "We can remind ourselves of that truth by treating one another as though it is already true."
Click below to listen to President and Sister Eyring's full devotional address. You can also click here to watch the video or read the transcript.