Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Like a star shining brightly

Is this thing on? Bahaha. It's been a while.

I had the great privilege of speaking at a YSA (Young Single Adult -- ages 18ish to 30ish) activity this weekend; it was one of those fireside/dinner/dance combos that people drive a few hours to come to, and I haven't had too many teaching opportunities lately so I jumped at the chance. (The only drawback is it was the same day as a giant work event I had so I felt like I'd been run over by the time the fireside rolled around, but what can you do?). My faith has shifted and grown in some hard and important ways over the last few years so I was hopeful I could find a way to speak authentically and openly about things I really stand behind, and I did, and it was good. It turned out to be a great discussion full of really wise and thoughtful comments, so I'm sharing it with the interwebs in case anyone out there finds it useful.

We were in the chapel, about 100 of us, but I asked everyone to sit near the front so I could stand down below with a chalkboard and visit sans mic. Glad I did that.

Like A Star Shining Brightly: Loving God, Ourselves and Each Other

I started out by asking everyone to think of a time when they felt like a million bucks, just five hundred percent on top of the world. I started by sharing about the time I tried out for the school play in 8th grade. None of my friends were trying out so I was a bit shy, and I almost bailed, but then I went through with it and ended up being the Wicked Queen in Snow White and it was an absolute blast. I think it was the first time I realized that even if my girlfriends weren't doing something, if I felt like it, I could do it, and make my own new friends and blaze my own new trail, and I felt amazing. Any other examples?

One guy shared how he did magic tricks for the school talent show in 6th grade, and it was supposed to be several tricks throughout the show, and he was super nervous for the first one, but by the second one, everyone was shouting "Magic Matt! Magic Matt!" and he felt on top of the world. A young woman raised her hand and talked about a time she got to start a flashmob as a missionary (there were missionaries sitting down in a fireside and she just stood up and started singing "Called to Serve" and then more and more jumped up and joined in). It was scary in the moment but she ended up loving it. "How did you feel after?" I asked her. "Powerful," she said. Another guy shared a football story about how he was the smallest guy on the team but he managed to be part of an amazing play and no one could believe it. "How did you feel?" I asked him. "Unstoppable," he said.

I asked them to remember that feeling of I-can-do-anything, of powerful, unstoppable, the world is mine, and said that I think all of our stories have at least three things in common. (1) Preparation (couldn't have started the flashmob without planning it, needed to prepare a monologue to try out for the play) (2) Commitment (couldn't abort mission mid-magic trick or collapse in the middle of the football play) and (3) Self-confidence. The third one is where I wanted to spend most of my time because it is SO important. I don't think we can fully love others or love God until we have that love to give. We get that by believing in ourselves and developing a healthy sense of our own strengths and potential; God can help us channel that feeling of personal power into much, much more. Accordingly, I offered six tips for becoming our best selves.

(1) Identify your strengths.
Lead with your strengths; choose a field that plays to your strengths. Find something you're good at and that you enjoy and celebrate that about yourself. Many of us can list our weaknesses at the drop of a hat; how many of us know, really know, what gifts we have? Guaranteed we have been given some. We will have to develop them, but they will come to us as they are needed.

My LSAT & GMAT students often have an easy time telling me all the things they're bad at ("I can't finish the reading on time!" "I'm no good at logic games!") and are flat-out stumped when I ask them to list where they've improved, even when they've been studying for months. We're the same way. We are often blind to our own strengths and hyper-aware of our weaknesses. But what do the scriptures teach us about weakness?

Ether 12:27. "If men come unto me, I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." One guy commented that if we trust God, we have to trust that he won't just mitigate our weaknesses but that God is really capable of transforming them into strengths.

(2) Throw your worries away.
Do not worry about things you cannot control. Repeat: DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THINGS YOU CANNOT CONTROL. It is not worth your energy. One girl raised her hand and made the wise distinction between "concerns" (things that deserve our time and emotional energy, e.g., what career path you should take, how can you help your dad prepare for retirement, how can I reach my own personal goals) and "worries" (things that don't deserve our time and emotional energy, e.g., what people are saying about you, what others might be thinking about you, who else got the promotion you wanted). Anxiety can be paralyzing and we have way too much to offer to let it control us.

We read Phillipians 4:6-7 from the NLT version (scandalous of me, right? No KJV? Bahaha. What can I say? I like this verse better), "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." We talked a bit about peace guarding our hearts and minds from that dangerous spiral of negative self-talk, and how important it is to run TOWARD what you want rather than AWAY from what you don't want.

(3) Ditch whatever is holding you back
Leave your baggage in the room! It will wreck your knees. Sheri Dew (I know, I know) tells a story of when she was in a hotel and there was a fire. She grabbed her bags and ran down 20 flights of stairs with them and ended up needing reconstructive knee surgery and she really regretted hauling her stuff with her when it was all replaceable. The main takeaway was simply, "Leave your baggage in the room. It'll wreck your knees." If you are hauling things around that aren't helpful for you, get rid of them. Stuff can be big or small or in-betweensies, but if it is standing between you and who you want to be, ditch it. If you need to seek professional help to help you release them, do it. Take steps toward leaving your baggage in the room right now.

We talked a bit about stuff that can hold us back (bad habits, laziness, plain old inertia, family, comfort) and when can you change? YOU CAN CHANGE RIGHT NOW. You do not have to be the same at 5:38 PM as you were at 5:37 PM. You are in charge of you! I told them about my friend who once, in a moment of clarity, was listening to a CD she knew she shouldn't be listening to and she just threw it out the window on the freeway. If it's holding you back, throw it out. One guy shared how his roommate wanted to get healthy and so he just stopped eating fast food, and now they all tease him about it, but he just doesn't do it anymore and it's easy because he likes how he feels not eating it more than he likes how he feels eating it. Like in Mosiah 5:2, when the people listening to King Benjamin hear his words and their hearts are changed. They have no more disposition to do evil but to do good continually; we can transform our desires, and you can do that right now.

(4) Process your feelings
Life is good and it is also a bummer sometimes. You can't shove uncomfortable feelings under the bed and pretend they aren't there. It's totally okay and yes, even necessary, to really feel how you feel and look your anger/fear/disappointment/whatever it might be right in the face instead of slapping a bandaid on it. In Elder Wirthlin's Come What May and Love It talk in October 2008, he said "How can we love days that are filled with sorrow? We can't -- at least not in the moment. I don't think my mother was suggesting that we suppress discouragement or deny the reality of pain. I don't think she was suggesting that we hide unpleasant truths beneath a cloak of pretended happiness. But I do believe that the way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life." We mustn't suppress discouragement or deny the reality of pain.

I told them that our family is moving soon, and while I'm excited about it, I'm also really sad because I'm going to miss my life here tremendously. I wouldn't be doing anyone any favors if I didn't acknowledge my mix of feelings. If I pretended it was all roses, it would breed resentment and I wouldn't have the space to grieve the end my time here and move on in a healthy way. I gotta feel what I feel and so do they, whatever it might be.

One woman made the wise comment that there's an important difference between processing feelings (as in, really moving through them and sorting them out) and just festering in them, bathing in them, and how we need to think about why we are feeling what we're feeling (e.g., if we are angry, what is the root cause and how can we address it?) rather than just stewing indefinitely.

(5) Look around.
It's a big world, and there are lots of people besides us. It is easy to get self-absorbed, and self-care has a really important role, but there are people who need are help and perhaps more importantly, people who have things to teach us, so look around. The world is full of different kinds of people by design. Elder Wirthlin shared one of my favorite general conference statements of all time when he said, "The Lord did not people the world with a vibrant orchestra of personalities only to value the piccolos of the world." Look around! See who is around you and how they can complement your own limited world view. One of my mentors is fond of encouraging healthy debate by saying, "If two of you think alike, one of you is unnecessary." As we pay attention to views that are different from our own and seek out folks who think differently than we do, our minds will be opened in hard and important ways that will allow us to empathize more fully and to love others more deeply.

(6) Be nice to yourself
We are children of God and capable of anything. If we ever think we are too far gone or that we can't do something, we have forgotten who we are. God cares WAY more about our direction that about our past and that will always, always be so. We need to view ourselves with compassion and understand that life is a process and we are learning and growing every day. Thomas S. Monson said, "Do not pray for tasks equal to your abilities, but pray for abilities equal to your tasks. Then the performance of the tasks will be no miracle, but you will be the miracle." That's right, WE will be the miracle and God can bless us with abilities equal to whatever task is facing us. I mean it: we are each a miracle in the making. Please, never leave a gathering like this feeling inadequate or like your to-do list just got longer or your guilt-o-meter rose to the red zone. Leave knowing that you have infinite potential and that God will pick you up every--and I mean every--time you stumble, so be kind to yourself.

At the end, I shared simply that God wants us to be happy, that God wants us to feel those feelings of being able to do ANYTHING, feeling beloved and powerful and unstoppable, like we shared at the beginning. I felt God's love for me and for them and I firmly believe that we can make good things happen in our lives and in the lives of others by harnessing our own potential for good and truly believing in the power we have to lift ourselves and others.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

chapter a-closing

I woke up super early this morning with a lot on my mind. (The early wakeup was unfortunate since my cute four-month-old chose to sleep a record 10ish hours, but hey, we're all doing what we can here.)
This is long but it's my blog and I do what I want so stick with me here, if you would.
(1) There's a guy in the Book of Mormon and his name is the Brother of Jared. Yeah, I don't know why either. The story goes that because God told him to, he built these enclosed ships that his people needed to hop into in order to travel for a long time. So he says to God, look, we need to figure out how to (a) breathe and (b) see; what do I do here? God says, essentially, breathe by putting holes in the top and bottom with a little stop. Uncork it when you need some air and re-cork it when water comes in. And about the seeing, well, "What will ye that I should do?" Yes, in this story, Brother of Jared presents God with two problems, and God responds with specific instructions on one and a basic "Welp, what do YOU want me to do?" on the other. The Brother of Jared ends up finding a bunch of stones and asking God to touch them to light them up so they can use them as little lamps, and God does, and voila.

For years, I have always pictured the Brother of Jared kind of sheepish in that moment of saying, "Um, how about these rocks?" [Cringe.] Think that would work? Sorry if that's lame. This is all I got." And sure, there are a million things that he could have done, and that would have been better, but he thought of stones, and he had stuff to make the stones, so he threw the idea out there and hey, this works.
I feel like that a lot, like I'm supposed to do something but don't know exactly how, so I come up with something and then feel dumb about it but offer it up anyway because, well, it's the best I've got.

(2) In another part of the Book of Mormon, this kid named Ammon is flipping out with joy over how well all these people he taught are doing. He ends up saying that there is no one in the world who should be more grateful than he is. And I totally get that. "Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away..." Later on he uses the word "mindful" a million times, saying God is mindful of him, and mindful of his friends, and mindful of every people. No wonder he's thrilled.

(3) I woke up thinking about a talk Henry B. Eyring gave recently about how we all have LIMITS and that is okay. He even highlighted the importance of "balancing a desire to do all you can to help others with the wisdom to be prudent in meeting your own needs to retain your power to serve." WHAT? Re-read that for a second and just marvel with me at how wise that is. "Whenever you have cared for someone for even a short time, you have felt love for the person you served. As the time to provide needed care grew longer, the feelings of love increased. Since we are mortal, that increase in love may be interrupted by feelings of frustration and fatigue." And then later he says, "You will be strengthened and yet inspired to know the limits and extent of your ability to serve. The Spirit will comfort you when you may wonder, 'Did I do enough?'"
I feel like his whole talk was saying, hey, it's okay to be tired, and frustrated, and also strengthened, and if you need a breather, take a breather; there's nobility in napping once in a while, people!
(4) On a nostalgic whim, I got the New Testament batch of Scripture Scouts (yep, circa 1987, ring a bell?) a few weeks ago and on it there is this abnormally catchy little tune about the story of the loaves and fishes, and the chorus says, "Whatever you have is enough, says Jesus. Whatever you have is enough." Kind of lame? Maybe. Kind of awesome? YES. Whatever we have IS enough.
Today marked the end of four years in Young Women for me, three and a half of them as president, and my emotions are all over the map. I imagine there is a long and guttural German word for how I'm feeling that smooshes gratitude in with grief and relief and pride and sadness and nostalgia and accomplishment and delight and exhaustion. 

I feel a lot like the Brother of Jared, a little sheepish about how random and dumpy my best was sometimes, and grateful that God just kind of said, "Welp, that'll work." I feel a lot like Ammon, because there is NO ONE, and I mean no one, who has ever had more reason to  be grateful than I have, for my life and my fam and my calling and my friends and my opportunities and...I could go on a while so get comfy. I have felt how MINDFUL God is of me and of all of us, and guess what? It's a lot. 

I also feel like the weary caregiver in Eyring's talk, because I want to go-go-go but also need to admit that, surprise surprise, my own well is pretty darn dry and with all that is going on with my life and my fam, I gotta kick back and meet my own needs to, as he says, retain my power to serve. And just like the cheesetastic Scripture Scouts say, whatever we have is enough. There are things I would do differently given the chance, and I ache wishing I weren't so grouchy, or self-centered, or frazzled, or anti-froof, and I wish I'd had more time and energy to give at various times, and I wish I had been more sensitive and aware with different girls and their adult-sized challenges through the years, but I also firmly believe that whatever we have is enough. It feels pretty good to know that I gave what I had and God knows m'heart and guess what? Whatever I have is enough, and I've given it, and for now, my turn at this is over.

I have a hundred funny stories to share about our little gang of YW, and several dozen heartbreaking ones, and a bunch more in between, but for privacy's sake I'll save those for somewhere and sometime that's not the world wide web. I will say, though, that I expect to feel a little funny, a little in-betweensies, a little off my game, for a while since being in charge of the YW has been such a part of my identity here in Iowa, and that even though I'm kind of relieved, I am also a little devastated, and this change is a big loss for me, one for which I will allow myself space to grieve. 

Buuuuuut, I might also take myself out to dinner on Wednesday, just because I'm free. :)

Thursday, April 25, 2013


The next time I want to throw a My Little Pony party for a couple dozen 5-year-olds the same weekend as I end up in charge of the ward talent show/dessert auction camp fundraiser and going to a 5k in the next town over for work and we have a board meeting and I'm teaching the Sunday lesson in YW, and a buddy is driving across the country and decides to pop in overnight with her husband, and I have a two-month-old, I need you to talk me down. Got it? Because last weekend ran me over like a truck!  Whew!

  • "CHAOS IS HEALTHY!" is my new mantra, which I say at least thrice a day to kind-hearted strangers who tell me "Oh, sweetheart, you've got your hands full!" Truly, "chaos is healthy" is the name of the game lately and it may end up tattooed on my rump if this continues.
  • I had a kid in February and he is a dream. Oddly enough, all three of our kids were due on a Thursday and born on the following Tuesday. Weird, right? This little cutie has two big sisters a couple inches from his face most of the day and it is unbearably sweet. So far he has been our most mellow baby by a mile (or are we just less uptight?). Regardless, I love him.
  • Some of my very favorite friends are moving in the next few weeks and it's giving me the bummers. I realize that when you live in a college town with a big fat university hospital, chances are that most people our age-ish and stage-ish are just passing through, and I also realize that I'm 30 years old and need to suck it up, but, WAAAAA! 
  • I should have guarded my maternity leave more closely; I ended up doing more work earlier than I should have; that whole real, regular life thing is SNEAKY and creeps up so fast when you're trying to soak up the newborn magic. Learn from me, internet, and guard your baby time!
  • I read Lean In and wish everyone would get off Sheryl Sandberg's back. It seems like no one who is ragging on her HAS ACTUALLY READ HER BOOK.
  • Can't believe I have a FIVE-YEAR-OLD! Wasn't she born just last week?? Alas, she has all these friends and opinions and is pumped for kindergarten. I can't wait to see who this chick turns into because she is so sharp and thoughtful and determined. Speaking of determined, my wise friend Jennifer reminded me to go easy on our three-year-old because "you just created a middle child!" and oh how I'm trying to. Will she stop peeing her pants soon though? Because SHEESH.
  • I am working on simplifying the heck out of my current scene since I am wound up all the time lately with my mind a-racing and it turns out perma-mega-high-alert is a crappy way to function! And I know, you're probably thinking, seriously, you're simplifying but you couldn't put someone else in charge of the talent show?? Welp, believe me, I tried. My delegation efforts were sabotaged when the woman who was supposed to be in charge ended up going to "dental prom" instead (yes, that's a thing). Know what else was sabotaged? Dinner. My go-to recipe book that never lets me down is apparently not quiiiite as foolproof as I'd hoped since my pizza crust yesterday came out looking like giant garlicky discs of giraffe dandruff.

 That's what's new around here! You holding up okay?

Monday, September 17, 2012

still rocking and still rolling

Aloha, internets! Know what I like about us?  That we can all just act natural when I blog like twice a year.  Hope things are going great!  A sampling of the latest around here:
  • Ich bin swamped.  I've bitten off a tad more than I can chew in terms of my current time commitments and now I'm just riding the wave. BAHAHA.  I have a pretty cool full-time gig, and the last month or so has been the very busiest time of year, as in, my head almost exploded several times, and for reasons I still don't understand myself, I agreed to teach an additional class a couple evenings a week for the next month or so, which I enjoy but may have been a poor choice considering my good husband just went back to school and our busy little girls are a blast but like I said, busy, and oh yeah, I have a full-time job.  Come on, gurrbonzo, you gotta start taking stuff OFF the plate rather than piling it on, sister.  Working on it.  
  •  It's always helpful/interesting/surprising to realize whoooooops, I'm overbooked, and the current pace?  It's not sustainable.  Sooooo, just in the midst of trying to anticipate and prevent a meltdown before it arises.  So that's where I am, life strategic planning.  Visualize success in the anticipate and prevent meltdown stage!
  • Additionally, remember how I'm YW president (aka the chick over the teen girls at church)?  The other leaders and I took turns being out of town for giant chunks of the summer, so imagine my delight when everyone got back into town and we had a marathon meeting where we figured out all of our fall plans and delegated tasks accordingly and as a little group got all of our church-ducks in a church-row.  This was right in time for my busy work season so I figured, YESSSSSSS!, assignments are made, bases are covered, expectations are clear, all systems go.  Then imagine my laughter when I got word that they'd "identified new callings" for ALL the other women working with me and I'd need to suggest an entirely new line-up (except me) in about 48 hours.  Bahaha.  The old line-up was awesome and the new line-up will also be awesome.  Just laugh with me for a moment about how our giant meeting that brought me much relief became immediately obsolete.   
  • We had a big stake RS meeting the other day and I didn't realize it was coming up quite so soon and that I was supposed to speak at it.  Bahaha.  I'm running on empty/stretched a little thin/whatever other phrase can imply that I'm about at capacity, so I had to laugh when I realized this was coming up but figured hey, I can go with the flow.  Welp turns out some folks from the press were there and recorded the whole thing as part of a special about Mormons in our great state.  BAHAHAHA.  There were a bunch of other speakers too so I'm sure it was no big deal; it just FELT like a big deal because....I NEED A NAP!
  • Which is why I fell asleep at 7:30 PM on Saturday.  Totally recommend that.
  • Did I mention I saw President Obama speak a week or two ago?  Because I did!  If you're wondering if it's worth standing 5-6 hours outside in the rain to see the current President of the United States, the answer is yes.
  • Also, did you know we're expecting a little boy?  Because yes, yes we are, and we're thrilled, but I'm also terrified of how we'll function with three children.  "But gurrbonzo," you say, "We have 4/5/6 children, and it's a breeze!"  Well, dear reader, I salute you, but I'm not you, and I'm so, so, excited, but periodically I also realize that I don't know what on earth we'll do with more kids than adults!  What about when they gang up on me?  What if I need to pick everyone up?  That's it, no more outings.  Also, growing a baby makes me sleepy.  Also, THREE kids is a lot of kids!!!  I am the youngest of two so this is rather unfamiliar territory.  We alternate between giddy excitement (about 80% of the time) and freak-freak-freaking out (10% of the time) and a calm zone out (10%).  But, overall, hurray!  
That's the latest around here!  You good?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Unsolicited YW advice: Part 1

Sooooo, I have a lot of unsolicited advice to give about YW (meaning teen girls at church), and if there's one things blogs are for, it's spouting unsolicited advice!  Am I right or am I right?
I've been in YW non-stop since we moved to the great Midwest and while our crowd may be different from yours (we have less than a dozen YW and don't split up by age group or have advisors), I have a sneaky feeling YW everywhere have a lot in common.  And it always bums me out when I hear from friends who aren't having great experiences serving in YW...it is such an awesome opportunity to work with such a great age group, and I love the crap out of our little crowd so much that I really want other people to love it like I do.  This topic has popped up a lot lately with my real-life friends and e-friends and such, and surprise, surprise, I have a bunch to say.

So, let me climb aboard my e-soapbox and share a few grouchy tidbits...

Gurrbonzo's Grouchy Bits of Advice for YW Leaders: Part 1

(1) It's not about you!  My own experience in YW was really, really lame.  We moved to a new ward when I was 9th gradeish and there were like forty girls my age, I felt like I had nothing in common with any of them, I felt grouchy and misunderstood, square peg in a round hole, whatever you want to say about it.  Guess what?  My YW now aren't me.  They aren't a 2012 version of me, either.  And my favorite rants or topics or teen baggage AREN'T THEIR PROBLEM.  So resist the urge to teach and preach what your former self would have needed/wanted and instead, look around and see if you can figure out what these actual girls are interested in or in need of.  They aren't us; they're them.

(2)  On a related note, be the grown up.  We aren't their peers.  That's a weird feeling because when you chat with teens, it comes back fast.  I remember so vividly so much about being that age.  Once a few years ago, an 8th grade YW was chatting with me at an activity and out of nowhere snapped my bra.  Seriously.  I almost died.  I was tempted to laugh but then I realized that can't happen.  So I just said, "Sweetie, I'm a grown up.  Totally inappropriate. Never do that again."  And then we started talking about something else.  She was a little startled but it hasn't happened again and now we have a great relationship.

It's a tough balance, and I don't mean they should salute you and curtsy or that you need to be super distant, but you're the adult and they are teens. Even if you're not that much older than they are, keep in mind you aren't peers.

(3) Stop talking about clothes.  Just stop.  I don't want to hear any more from either side of the modesty debate.  I am totally over that conversation and for teen girls to get the message that looks aren't everything, we've gotta talk about stuff that's more interesting and important.  If, say, what the kid is wearing at an activity is TOTALLY out of control, take her aside and privately say something like, "Throw a shirt on that covers up a little more.  I'll run you home and you can get one, then let's grab a slurpee and we'll be back in time for the closing prayer."  Don't make it any more than it is.  

(4) Get off their cases.  Peers, parents, media, church, everyone has so much to say about what teen girls should or shouldn't wear, what they should or shouldn't do, what they should or shouldn't say.  What they need more than anything is our love and our trust and our examples.  My job isn't to nag; they have the whole planet for that.  My job is to show them what a happy, healthy woman is like and to high five and hug as needed.  They are aching for our love and for our examples.  Show them how it's done.

(5) Go to their stuff.  I know this is hard depending on schedules, etc., but it's my favorite.  For example, a few of our YW are in jazz band and we go to their awesome performances all the time.  My kids love it, and I know the YW and their friends, and they are (most of the time) excited to see me, and it's good and fun and normal.

I got a mean farmer tan from the last JV soccer game I went to, but it was totally worth it. My kids played on the playground and my dear YW was thrilled to see us.  I didn't bombard her or even talk to her after because she was booked, but I waved and my four-year-old shouted, "Go Lucy!" and I think that's enough.  If anyone in YW had given a teensy shit about what I was up to at that age, I think it would have meant a lot to me.  (Wait, it's not about me...d'oh...still, most of the time they love it.)

(6) Let them do stuff.  For example, we had a whole lesson on how to give a lesson (I'll post it if you want to check it out), and then we've started having YW teach once a month.  This won't work for every group but for ours, it has ROCKED.  They can count it for Personal Progress and it is honestly beautiful to see.  The first few months were a little rocky (e.g., we had a few ten minute lessons...bahahaha) but the last year or so, everyone's really gotten into it. The YW make especially great comments when one of them is leading the discussion, and it seems to provide decent experience so they are braver the next time they have to do something, and they're more supportive when an adult is teaching bc they know what's it like to be on that end.

Last year, we were talking as a ward about what talks from General Conference we should use for lessons, and everyone was excited about Elder Cook's "LDS Women Are Incredible!" talk.  Now, say what you will about the talk, but I had to chime in:  if LDS women are incredible, how about...wait for it...a talk by an LDS woman?  Annnnd we used Sylvia Allred's RS talk for the lesson.  If something's important, stop talking about how important it is and just let the importance shine.  See what I'm saying? We've gotta stop telling them they're awesome and start giving them opportunities to be awesome, whether through teaching or service or whatever.

(7) Let them botch it once in a while.  That's the logical extension of letting them do stuff.  They need the chance to fail.  That's scary for adults like me that like to do everything themselves, but it's like teaching your kid to make her bed. Yeah, it's easier for us to just make the bed, but getting the bed made isn't the point; teaching them to make the bed is the point.

Last year, I asked a girl to do a musical number for our Night of Excellence.  She said yes, we reminded her a few times, and that day she laughed about how she hadn't prepared anything.  I was tempted to take her off the program but then I caught myself and realized you know, she committed to do it, let's see what happens.  She traipsed through a painful version of a song and it was awful and awkward and I'd bet a lot of money she won't be unprepared again. (Won't work for everyone but for her personality it was a great lesson.)  Let them fail.   Otherwise, they grow up thinking someone else will fix everything, and I've got some bad news: someone else won't.  Bahahahaha.

(8) Don't go to every activity.  You'll lose your mind and it's not fair to your family.  Let your counselors or whoever go to stuff (or if you're an advisor or counselor, let the YW president know when you want to swap dates).  It took me a year or two to figure it out, but everyone doesn't have to go to everything.  We make sure two adults are at a Wednesday activity and then call it good, and split it up so that one person doesn't have to go too many times in a row.  I spent all of Sunday on YW stuff (morning meeting, evening fireside) so you know what that means?  I'm not going on Wednesday, and I feel great about it.

Annnnd that's it for now.  What do you think?  Agree? Disagree?  Anything to add?  Part 2 coming soon.