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ywpresi

Problems with YW Laurels

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Hey everyone,

 

I'm new here, but I've been feeling really lost and don't know what to do. I got called to be YW president back in early February, and as a 23 year old who basically just left being a young women, it's been a little overwhelming. One of the first things I did was talk to the laurels about how they needed to come to church more regularly because I had noticed they were sluffing a bunch, but I definitely approached it wrong since it came off like a lecture. They all loved me last year when I was just a camp leader, but now they all hate me. One of girls actually went home to her mom and cried about how I had singled her out in front of everyone and been a complete jerk, etc, to which her mom told her she didn't have to put up with it and to come to RS. So, that was super awesome and awkward. But now it is like the other YW don't trust me anymore and everyone at church talks about how awful I am. 

 

Anyway, I guess I'm sort of over that, but what I'm not over is the fact that my laurels aren't coming at all anymore. One was super active, and she just kind of stopped, but I guess that is partly due to the fact that she is 18 and graduating here in a couple of weeks, etc. Then another who is 17 (the pres) stopped coming to church and activities, though she still always makes it to BYC somehow, and she refuses to come to girls camp, laurel leadership, or youth conference this summer. I know it is hard for her because her two other best friends have stopped coming, but she still has another year of high school. Then there is the last laurel (active anyway) who comes every week and to everything but is always by herself. And I can tell she feels like there's nobody there with her and that makes her uncomfortable. Anyway, the laurel who does come has a mom in my presidency who basically hints at the fact that I'm an awful president and leader to her daughter all the time, if not straight out saying it which she did once. And I can't help but agree. I have no idea how to help the girls because honestly, I wasn't super interested in church and mutual at their age either. But I want to help them, and the fact that they aren't coming to anything just makes me feel like crap. Anyway, I guess I mostly just wondered if it was normal for this to happen at this time of year when school is getting out or with laurels, or is it really just me?

 

Oh...and I'm pregnant...so I'm sure those hormones are totally helping.

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Hey everyone,

 

I'm new here, but I've been feeling really lost and don't know what to do. I got called to be YW president back in early February, and as a 23 year old who basically just left being a young women, it's been a little overwhelming. One of the first things I did was talk to the laurels about how they needed to come to church more regularly because I had noticed they were sluffing a bunch, but I definitely approached it wrong since it came off like a lecture. They all loved me last year when I was just a camp leader, but now they all hate me. One of girls actually went home to her mom and cried about how I had singled her out in front of everyone and been a complete jerk, etc, to which her mom told her she didn't have to put up with it and to come to RS. So, that was super awesome and awkward. But now it is like the other YW don't trust me anymore and everyone at church talks about how awful I am. 

 

Anyway, I guess I'm sort of over that, but what I'm not over is the fact that my laurels aren't coming at all anymore. One was super active, and she just kind of stopped, but I guess that is partly due to the fact that she is 18 and graduating here in a couple of weeks, etc. Then another who is 17 (the pres) stopped coming to church and activities, though she still always makes it to BYC somehow, and she refuses to come to girls camp, laurel leadership, or youth conference this summer. I know it is hard for her because her two other best friends have stopped coming, but she still has another year of high school. Then there is the last laurel (active anyway) who comes every week and to everything but is always by herself. And I can tell she feels like there's nobody there with her and that makes her uncomfortable. Anyway, the laurel who does come has a mom in my presidency who basically hints at the fact that I'm an awful president and leader to her daughter all the time, if not straight out saying it which she did once. And I can't help but agree. I have no idea how to help the girls because honestly, I wasn't super interested in church and mutual at their age either. But I want to help them, and the fact that they aren't coming to anything just makes me feel like crap. Anyway, I guess I mostly just wondered if it was normal for this to happen at this time of year when school is getting out or with laurels, or is it really just me?

 

Oh...and I'm pregnant...so I'm sure those hormones are totally helping.

Let me just say this directly.

 

You're too young to be the young women's president.  There isn't enough of an age gap for you to be the kind of mentor teenage girls need.  That isn't your fault, you just lack the perspective.  In my opinion, the bishopric did both you and the girls a disservice when they called you to be the president.  

 

I don't have any suggestions on how to resolve your problems other than to make them someone else's problems.  I don't think you should be dealing with these things at your stage in life.

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Hmm. My wife wasn't too young when she was YW president (37) and she faced the same issues (except the pregnant part).

 

Even if MoE is right (which, surprise, surprise, I disagree with him in the extreme - and don't see wherein it is helpful to put you down that way) that is not really on the table. It is your calling. And thereby you are qualified. The Lord qualifies whom the Lord calls.

 

I will say this: Idiot teenagers being idiot teenagers is NOT your fault. So get past that right now. (My wife had the same feelings). You won't be perfect. Of course. That doesn't mean you are to blame -- unless you just don't care or are purposefully lazy, unkind, etc...

 

Beyond that, I'd say your best bet is to do as all YW leaders must. Pray - a lot. Counsel with your presidency. Listen to the spirit. Talk to your bishop and seek his advice. Pray more. Etc., etc., and then press forward with patience and faith. Remember, your goal is not to have a perfectly attended, problem-free YW group. It is to bring souls closer to Christ. And that doesn't necessarily mean immediately. You may not see the fruits of your efforts right away. But continue in faith, bearing down in pure testimony, and the Lord's purposes through you will come to pass.

 

I used to remind my wife of this all the time. This is the Lord's church. These are His daughters. This is His YW program. And His plan and His gospel will go forward, despite people's imperfections. So put your trust in Him, seek His will, and press forward with steadfastness.

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Thanks guys. I appreciate your honest opinion MoE. I do pity me sometimes telling myself I'm too young and shouldn't have to do this calling at my age, but as The Folk Prophet pointed out, I certainly have been called of God, and anything is possible with the Lord on your side. But I also think it is part of the problem in the ward because a lot of people have the same feeling as you that I'm way too young and have no business being in charge of an organization in the ward. I never understand why people sustain those they can't support. 

 

Thanks for all of your help Folk Prophet. Maybe I'm just looking a little bit too much at myself and not enough at the young women who I'm there to serve. I guess it really doesn't matter if everyone likes me or thinks I am doing a good job as long as I'm somehow helping the girls. Not that I really see how I'm doing that at this point, but I guess I probably will never know if I've really helped them or not. I'm glad to hear this is normal for teens to act like this and that other YW President's have had the same issues. That helps a lot. 

 

FYI: They actually called me before I was pregnant knowing that I had fertility issues and thinking I wouldn't have a problem. But then a couple weeks after getting called, bam. I was pregnant. 

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FYI: They actually called me before I was pregnant knowing that I had fertility issues and thinking I wouldn't have a problem. But then a couple weeks after getting called, bam. I was pregnant. 

 

My wife wishes she'd had that problem (we've been pursuing fertility treatments for a while now). Instead she felt she got treated like she didn't belong, wasn't supported by people (including the bishopric to an extent) and then was released for no apparent reason after less than a year. That really helped with her self-esteem you might imagine. She still struggles not to cry every time she sees the new YW leader, hears a YW activity announced, etc. And no luck on the fertility as an extra kick in the seat. :)

 

That being said, in my opinion she was a wonderful YW president (something I've heard said by many people (point being that her feelings of not being supported were likely not legitimate)).

 

Your comment about considering the young women instead of yourself is very insightful. I'd only change one thing. The word "helping" should probably be replaced with "serving". It doesn't matter if you help them. That is up to them and their agency. It matters that you love and serve them and do all that you can to help them. The rest is up to them.

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I don't think I've ever had a calling that I felt I was qualified for.  I got called to teach RS when I was only 2 weeks from my baptism... I would stand there and try to explain to the class of women what President Hinckley is trying to say in his Conference Talk... I keep on saying Mass (instead of Sacrament Meeting) and Pope (instead of Prophet) and the wife of the Stake President is sitting at the front row... what can I possibly teach this 70-ish year old woman who was born in the Church?

 

Anyway, TFP was very correct - God qualifies those He calls.  This is not about you.  This is about the YW.  Don't worry about what other people think of you.  Just worry that you are doing what Jesus says for us to do...

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In my ward my bishop called a 20 year old to be the Young Woman's President.  My bishop even told me that our Stake President asked him about her being called and if he was sure that she was the one the Lord wanted.  He was sure that she was.  She served until she got pregnant and felt she couldn't keep up with the demands of being the Young Woman's leader.

 

While I don't run in the gossip circles it seems to me that she had the full support of the ward while she was there.  Of course I can't image anyone no matter the age being all that successful if the members of ward will not support them

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My wife wishes she'd had that problem (we've been pursuing fertility treatments for a while now). Instead she felt she got treated like she didn't belong, wasn't supported by people (including the bishopric to an extent) and then was released for no apparent reason after less than a year. That really helped with her self-esteem you might imagine. She still struggles not to cry every time she sees the new YW leader, hears a YW activity announced, etc. And no luck on the fertility as an extra kick in the seat. :)

 

That being said, in my opinion she was a wonderful YW president (something I've heard said by many people (point being that her feelings of not being supported were likely not legitimate)).

 

Your comment about considering the young women instead of yourself is very insightful. I'd only change one thing. The word "helping" should probably be replaced with "serving". It doesn't matter if you help them. That is up to them and their agency. It matters that you love and serve them and do all that you can to help them. The rest is up to them.

 

So sorry. :( I wish the best to you and your wife. Infertility is a pretty painful experience, and I'm really grateful that we finally had our time. We were doing our last round of fertility treatments before quitting for a couple of years when we got pergnant. It was a huge surprise and a big miracle. 

 

I think what you said about serving is really helpful! I guess you are right that it will only help them if they want to be helped, but my job is simply to serve them. Thanks!

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Anatess - I bet you were an awesome teacher. Learning from someone who is learning themselves. I'm guessing you had a lot more enthusiasm than others who could have been put in that calling. And trust me, I re-learn things I already knew every week. 

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I'm sorry you are having such a struggle...particularly with people talking about you because that hurts.  I'm sure the hormones are not helping.

 

My suggestion to you is to try and get to know these girls (active and less-active....I often felt ignored in YW because everyone was so concerned about the less-actives, but I lived with two alcoholic parents and I could have used more support!)  

 

You need to get to the root of the problem with each girl.  Telling them to come to church is only treating the symptom.  I think the best way to get through to teenagers (or most people really) is to be authentic.  So individually tell them you are sorry about the "lecture" that started you off on the wrong foot with them.  Tell them you aren't sure why the Lord called you to this position since you are young.  And be honest that you didn't enjoy coming to church much at their age either.  THEN tell them, sincerely, how much you care about them and that you would like another chance.  Tell them that you understand more now than you did as a YW, how the program can help them (hopefully this is true, and if not pray about it.)  Be the "older, wiser friend"...don't try to be like their mothers or like whatever you envision a stereotypical YW Pres. is---just be you.  

 

Authenticity is hard to find these days, and I believe that some if not most will respond well to this.  They are teenage girls after all, they understand about making mistakes...teenagers make a lot of mistakes.  But they are also at an age where they are starting to "stretch their wings", preparing to "leave the nest" and the last thing they want (especially from you who is close in age) is to feel like another adult is trying to tell them what to do.  Approach from an older/wiser friend that cares and "I want to help you with YOUR choices..."  their choices not yours.  Will get you a lot farther.

 

You can do this.

 

P.S.--use whatever means works to "talk to them"  face to face, phone, Facebook, text....whatever you need to do to ease your way in and regain their trust.  It might take some time, so be patient.

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Anatess - I bet you were an awesome teacher. Learning from someone who is learning themselves. I'm guessing you had a lot more enthusiasm than others who could have been put in that calling. And trust me, I re-learn things I already knew every week.

I did learn a whole lot of stuff in that calling that I held for 2 years more than I learned in Religious Class in high school... It took me the entire month to prepare for a 40 minutes a month lesson... But I gave that calling everything I got.

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