Sunday, February 20, 2011

At church I have the opportunity to work with and teach the teenage girls. Church for a Mormon goes like this. Hour one is sacrament meeting when you take the sacrament and hear from speakers. Hour two is when your kids go to primary and teenagers go to combined (guys and girls) classes based on age. Adults also go to a combined class where they learn about the scriptures. The third hour (Yup, we go to church for three hours!...You get used to it.) teenagers and adults separate into male and female classes. If you have a certain "calling" (a volunteer job) you may not go to the adult class third hour. For example, I teach the teenage girls (called the Young Women's organization) so I go to class with them along with some other leaders. I love my "calling."

No matter where we live I always get asked to be in the Young Women's Organization and the girls never cease to amaze me. They are remarkable young girls trying to live a lifestyle that isn't mainstream. No drinking, smoking, or drugs. No coffee for that matter. They don't date until they are sixteen, avoid cursing, and juggle any number of extracurricular (Piano, singing, dancing, etc.) activities. In addition to church, we leaders provide a Wednesday evening activity every week for them where they work on any number of things like cooking, service projects, or just having fun. Most of them also attend a church class called seminary every school day. Phew! That sounds like a lot doesn't it? Some of you may be thinking that these girls have too many expectations placed on them and their lives seem too hard. But, if you ask them, they are as happy as can be.

If you were to walk in on one of our activities or Sunday lessons you would be amazed by their beauty and goodness. They are concerned for one another and have been taught to be compassionate from a young age.

Today was my turn to teach them. I came in to hear Megan saying, "We had a church dance last night, but I didn't even dance with the boys." I said to Megan, "What if the boy was really cute?" She looked up at me with her big blue eyes and said, "There's plenty of time for that in the future." I laughed to myself and thought, "Please God, let Sassafras be like this girl and be so busy that she remains uninterested in boys for a long time." My next thought was, "Yeah, right!"

I sat down to teach my lesson and did something unplanned. I said to these girls, "You are amazing. I'm proud of you and I love you." I continued, "You are a great example of good, kind, strong women doing miraculous things. I want you to know that I know your life is hard and that you will often mess up, but you are doing a good job. Keep trying." Their shoulders relaxed as if they had needed to hear those words.

Don't we all need to hear those words? I often think to myself that I don't want someone to take over my job as Mother or any of my challenging roles. I just want someone to say, "Good Job."

These young women aren't the only  people in the world trying to live good lives and set good examples. Many of you are too. Regardless of religion or beliefs we are all striving to do good things every day. So, I say to you, "Good job. If you mess up, keep trying. You are doing lots of little miracles each day."

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