I was late getting to the next class called "YW are Essential Participants". I sat in the back - uncomfortable in the folding chairs provided. I don't think it would have been so bad if there had been any amount of elbow room. I felt like if I had taken notes, I would have ribbed the sister sitting next to me.
What is up with the RS chairs having to be smashed so close together that there is absolutely no breathing room? Who's idea was that? Don't the people who set up chairs realize that there are several overweight sisters who might enjoy having a space larger than even elbow room would allow? I think I would have found more elbow room in a refrigerator box. I was actually quite uncomfortable about the seating arrangement for the most part. I have made it no secret that I enjoy having space. I am NOT a sardine. Perhaps I should be more vocal about that.
I must have missed the very mention of young women. When the instructor concluded her class she said something about Priesthood 101. That is what it felt like. I did not take notes nor get much out of her class.
The next instructor is in the stake young women's presidency. I probably enjoyed her class the most. Her part of Bonnie Oscarson's talk was "Gospel Living can Influence Others". "Your personal example of faithful living can influence your family and friends . . . (even if your home is less than ideal)"
She started out by introducing a marriage that came with a four-year-old. I can speak from own understanding that becoming a mother and wife on the same day was not "ideal". Not the "ideal" we had planned. She than shared a book with us called "The Uses of Adversity" by CarlFred Broderick - a book still in publication because she buys and shares so many copies.
Many of our life experiences are not only not ideal, but often seem unjust. We have to go through trials. People watch how we react. We don't have insurance against our pain, but rather resources to deal with the pain. She read a few examples from Broderick's book. The first one was an illustration of the Yellow Brick Road leading to Oz. It reminded me of the New Beginnings that had taken place to welcome Jenna (see here)
There was no wicked witch portrayed, and yet we encounter representations of Satan or "wicked witches" everyday. We need to become "steadfast and immoveable" which means solid and firm, unshaken and resolute.
Instead of "steadfast and immoveable" , our next instructor used the term "Bedrock" fundamental principles on which something is based also SOLID. Her subject: "Women must Raise Sin-Resistant Families" She talked about "sin proof" vs. "sin resistant". In the council in Heaven, Satan's plan was to "sin-proof" us all - which would have taken away our free agency. Sin-Resistance is a choice. She then played a piece of Patrick Kearon's talk (here) when he decided to wear flip flops instead of shoes, and how the flip flops were able to protect him from the stings of the scorpion. Often times we allow ourselves to fall into temptation because were either lazy and/or rebellious. Disregard always brings consequences. A person can choose his or her actions, but he or she may not choose the consequences of those actions.
We need to give our whole heart in order to be cleansed from sin. She referred to Todd Christopherson's talk (I think he was quoting Robert D. Hales) about not being able to pray another's agency away and how we need to prepare ourselves to watch our children fail at things - just as we may have failed at certain things because we exercised our agency and had to face consequences. Our children will have the same opportunities.
We are all still learning - though we may be experienced at many different levels, we can offer guidance to those who see corrections. We don't fertilize plants with candy bars. Sometimes something as to go wrong in order to grow.
Okay. I realize that last line doesn't make sense. It did at the time that I wrote it down. And if I could have written and posted my blogs at the time all of this was fresh in my head, it would have made more sense. I would also understand my wandering mind and other notes that I made.
The final class that I went to had been given by the wife of the mission president. The name of her class we "Boldly Take on the Name of Christ". She talked of a zone conference and about how the mission president had passed out priesthood lineage to all of the Elders - and how their roots could be traced back to Peter, James and John. She had prepared a talk to give but changed it when she noticed the sisters glancing over the Elder's shoulder to see what had been in the envelopes that the sisters themselves had not received.
Some may see Eve as weak as she gave into temptation and was the first to partake of the forbidden fruit. In doing so, she made it possible for each of us to come to earth, to make choices, and to fail but to press on.
It's quite obvious that there is a difference between the way a man thinks and how a women thinks and feels. She gave a demonstration on how the man has a box in which he puts all his thoughts and emotions. A woman may get upset with a man because he didn't take notice that his dirty socks had fallen on the floor (for instance) When he leaves the house, he leaves his concerns at home or in his box. He goes to work and focuses on work. When the woman stays home she vacuums the floor. She is angry (not so much about the socks as her husband's lack of acknowledgement) and does a fantastic job because she is metaphorically sucking away whatever's bothering her - or trying to. The woman holds the emotions and builds on them - so that when he comes home - perhaps in a happy mood even - she just lets into him. And he still has absolutely no clue what may be bothering her.
Or, the next example she used, a man and a woman may be at the movie together. The woman is only half focused, as she hears a screaming child in the background and wonders how her own children are doing, or perhaps triggers set in because of a certain focus. Yes, the woman came to watch the movie, but she is not 100% there and never will be. The man, on the other hand, came to watch the movie. His only focus IS ON the movie. Earthquakes happen. Bombs go off. The man doesn't pay attention. He is there to watch the movie.
I laughed even though I know not all men or women fit in that stereotypical mold. I know at my house, Roland and I have the roles pretty much reversed on some things - though he does focus on the movie and I actually don't care. He is the observant one, who notices when clothes don't match, have holes or are dirty. He notices if the child's hair isn't combed or if they're acting up. I am not so observant. I am ignorant.
But for the majority who do fit into the stereotype - where the woman may automatically straighten the collar of the sister sitting ahead of her, or have automatic radar senses for "fixing situations" The mitochondria is what powers the cells. That is what can be traced back to Eve.
I actually did not take good notes during her class and am having a hard time remembering things on the few lines I do have. I asked Jenna for her input (because she actually remembers things better than I do) but couldn't remember the exact word that we're looking for.
I think as a whole woman are more compassionate than men. I think overall, many men just seem oblivious to certain situations. But Roland has compassion. Sometimes I call him "Mother Hen" as he seems to be better at "mothering" than I am. Regardless of our role, we are all unpolished and need to listen to the still small voice.
She shared a familiar story about a famous pianist (Paderewski) and a little boy who went onstage to play a song (some legends say it was "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" others say Chopsticks. The point of the story was how the famous pianosit reached out to the little boys and encouraged him to "keep playing" and "Don't Quit" You can find a version of the story here, or an updated commercial of encouragement here. And whether the story is accurate or not, it's still a good message. One we can definitely learn from.
She also talked about staying focused on the positive. If you get 49 compliments but only one negative reaction - stay focused on those compliments - not the one things you may have disagreed with. Jenna does that A LOT. I find it quite annoying actually. She had fun in Salem. She rode the carrousel in Salem. She played the Ukulele. I guess Roland won the game they had played together - but still, she did quite well for not knowing the area. She walked away with a bunch of prizes. She had fun on the playground that she was really too big for. And then she gets upset when people (including us) leave because of the rain. That was her focus. Really? I have to constantly remind her. But I don't suppose I've been a really great example for her and so we're both trying together.