yw-pres-sml

YW Adviser displays animosity toward YW president

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I was called to be the YW president in May and have absolutely loved the calling. I have stellar counselors, a great secretary, and wonderful advisers. WHen I was called, my bishop asked I call a sister from the former presidency to serve as an adviser, particularly because she was so upset about being released and that she is fluent in spanish (we have 2 beehives that speak spanish only). I agreed, knowing he knew her far better than I did. Since, she has been slow to communicate if at all, absent from many meetings without informing others, and most recently has displayed animosity toward me personally, not the presidency (Made that part painfully clear). 

 

At the beginning of July, the 2nd counselor with whom she works closest (they're over the beehive class together) expressed to me concern of this adviser not attending meetings, planning lessons, or assisting in planning activities. I said I would pray about it and see what actions we might want to take. I expressed in the group altogether that we needed to aim to support one another and that a big part of that is attending activities and Sunday meetings as often as possible. Everyone agreed during in the conversation. 

 

This week we had a combined activity during which we would be planning 3 separate events coming up that heavily involve all 3 classes. She was not in attendance. I texted in the group text to see if she was coming (I did not have her number saved separately, my mistake) and the second counselor said she had texted her privately before saying she would not be there. Totally fine. I responded "Okay - next time we have a combined activity let's text in the group if we will be absent so we can plan accordingly". Everyone else saw this as a reasonable request. She responded and said she would take into consideration my suggestion. I responded that it would only be fair to all of us to know who will be attending and assisting in combined activities. Again, no one else has had an issue with this. She responded cruelly saying she had to pray about this and said I was contradicting myself constantly and that I clearly do not value any one else's opinions. I asked her if we could take this conversation away from the group.

 

I apologized very sincerely for upsetting her and any actions I've taken to make her feel any less than critical to the organization. She responded again extremely hatefully, saying she only had a problem with me and not the rest of the presidency and that I just am afraid of losing control so I don't listen to her. Again, I've had limited interaction with this sister outside of combined meetings and combined organizational meetings.

 

I have, since the beginning, made it my goal to never focus on myself during this calling, but to only focus on the girls and their individual and group needs. I have emphasized the critical role each leader plays in the organization and in the girls' lives/spiritual journeys. I feel physically ill over this, mainly because she has spread this hateful energy to her daughter who serves as beehive president. I feel lost.

 

I don't feel she can or should serve in the organization if she feels this way about the president, whether I was serving in that capacity or not. However, I do not want her to feel I released her out of retaliation and as a power move. I do not want this energy or dissension in the YW organization. I want a happy and healthy environment for my girls to thrive in. What do I do?! 

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Is the Bishop aware of the situation? Who is the Bishopric counselor over the YW? I would start by talking to him and have him bring up the issue in Bishopric meeting. Although recommendations are asked for, the Bishop and his counselors are the ones who make the decision to call and release individuals in ward callings. Regardless of whether or not she gets released, the spirit does not thrive in a contentious environment. Until a release comes (for the sake of the girls) you need to make sure this sister does feel heard, and is able to help the girls she has stewardship over. Kids are smart...they can see and feel contention.

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3 minutes ago, scottyg said:

Is the Bishop aware of the situation? Who is the Bishopric counselor over the YW? I would start by talking to him and have him bring up the issue in Bishopric meeting. Although recommendations are asked for, the Bishop and his counselors are the ones who make the decision to call and release individuals in ward callings. Regardless of whether or not she gets released, the spirit does not thrive in a contentious environment. Until a release comes (for the sake of the girls) you need to make sure this sister does feel heard, and is able to help the girls she has stewardship over. Kids are smart...they can see and feel contention.

I have reached out to the bishopric today. I had been waiting until Sunday after ward council but given that this has only escalated I asked for a conversation to happen today. 

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10 minutes ago, yw-pres-sml said:

I have reached out to the bishopric today. I had been waiting until Sunday after ward council but given that this has only escalated I asked for a conversation to happen today. 

They will likely not rush anything, but take their time to pray about things. The counselor will most likely talk to the other sister as well to ask her how things are going. It is a hard situation because if she is released from YW again she may be hurt further and could take things personally. Regardless of the outcome, there are bridges that need to be mended. Changes in ward leadership almost always come with some degree of drama...we had similar issues in our ward earlier this year, but after open communication and counseling things are going smoother now. With the new program coming in a few months everyone will need to be open to change.

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38 minutes ago, scottyg said:

They will likely not rush anything, but take their time to pray about things. The counselor will most likely talk to the other sister as well to ask her how things are going. It is a hard situation because if she is released from YW again she may be hurt further and could take things personally. Regardless of the outcome, there are bridges that need to be mended. Changes in ward leadership almost always come with some degree of drama...we had similar issues in our ward earlier this year, but after open communication and counseling things are going smoother now. With the new program coming in a few months everyone will need to be open to change.

I wouldn't expect a rushed decision, nor would I want that. I hope they are able to speak with her understand what has happened. I wish I knew what prompted this. I have been physically ill over this, racking my brain trying to recall something I have done or said to prompt this. I have aimed to support everyone in their callings and create a good environment for the girls. I didn't know I had gone so far off track, whether in her mind only or not. 

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4 hours ago, yw-pres-sml said:

I was called to be the YW president in May and have absolutely loved the calling. I have stellar counselors, a great secretary, and wonderful advisers. WHen I was called, my bishop asked I call a sister from the former presidency to serve as an adviser, particularly because she was so upset about being released and that she is fluent in spanish (we have 2 beehives that speak spanish only). I agreed, knowing he knew her far better than I did. Since, she has been slow to communicate if at all, absent from many meetings without informing others, and most recently has displayed animosity toward me personally, not the presidency (Made that part painfully clear). 

 

At the beginning of July, the 2nd counselor with whom she works closest (they're over the beehive class together) expressed to me concern of this adviser not attending meetings, planning lessons, or assisting in planning activities. I said I would pray about it and see what actions we might want to take. I expressed in the group altogether that we needed to aim to support one another and that a big part of that is attending activities and Sunday meetings as often as possible. Everyone agreed during in the conversation. 

 

This week we had a combined activity during which we would be planning 3 separate events coming up that heavily involve all 3 classes. She was not in attendance. I texted in the group text to see if she was coming (I did not have her number saved separately, my mistake) and the second counselor said she had texted her privately before saying she would not be there. Totally fine. I responded "Okay - next time we have a combined activity let's text in the group if we will be absent so we can plan accordingly". Everyone else saw this as a reasonable request. She responded and said she would take into consideration my suggestion. I responded that it would only be fair to all of us to know who will be attending and assisting in combined activities. Again, no one else has had an issue with this. She responded cruelly saying she had to pray about this and said I was contradicting myself constantly and that I clearly do not value any one else's opinions. I asked her if we could take this conversation away from the group.

 

I apologized very sincerely for upsetting her and any actions I've taken to make her feel any less than critical to the organization. She responded again extremely hatefully, saying she only had a problem with me and not the rest of the presidency and that I just am afraid of losing control so I don't listen to her. Again, I've had limited interaction with this sister outside of combined meetings and combined organizational meetings.

 

I have, since the beginning, made it my goal to never focus on myself during this calling, but to only focus on the girls and their individual and group needs. I have emphasized the critical role each leader plays in the organization and in the girls' lives/spiritual journeys. I feel physically ill over this, mainly because she has spread this hateful energy to her daughter who serves as beehive president. I feel lost.

 

I don't feel she can or should serve in the organization if she feels this way about the president, whether I was serving in that capacity or not. However, I do not want her to feel I released her out of retaliation and as a power move. I do not want this energy or dissension in the YW organization. I want a happy and healthy environment for my girls to thrive in. What do I do?! 

So a couple of observations,

1. I would avoid group texts, our voice is not heard via text message. I know that there is a reluctance these days to pickup a phone and call people but it reduces the misunderstandings.

2.  Over communicate, I have found that when you take away people excuses they stop making them.

3. There seems to be some hostility coming from her side of things. I would ask that she be released immediately before the waters are tainted any further. I wouldn't take no for an answer. You have stewardship over the YW. 

4. Don't lose any sleep over it. In this life we can't please everyone it's impossible wrap your head around that idea and you'll sleep better. 

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I've had a contentious calling once (and only once) before.  I was called Activities Chairperson (that calling doesn't exist anymore) and somebody else was called as Activities Coordinator.  I'm the type of person that works best when I either decide how to tackle a project myself or I don't make decisions at all.  I'm just not very good with collaboration especially when the people I collaborate with have a completely different idea of how to handle the project (you can call me by my nickname - Miss Control Freak).  Anyway, we found out we couldn't agree on anything and she wouldn't follow what I planned for the Activity - she goes and does her own thing -  so I told her, ok, I'm not good with collaboration, so I will give you full control of all decisions and you just let me know what you want me to do and you can be assured it will be done... well, that didn't work because she wouldn't plan the entire activity, she would come up with this not-well-thought-out plan, scrap it if it doesn't work and come up with a new not-well-thought-out plan... 

Anyway, it was giving me a headache and 2 activities that weren't up to "my standards" so I told the bishopric I can't work with her, explained why, and asked to be released.  The bishopric released her instead.  She had a Mary Kay business so I made sure I attended her parties and supported her the best I can with that just to keep our relationship from going sour.  I later found out she has bipolar disorder which is the main reason she couldn't stick to a plan. 

If I would have gone to her Mary Kay things and got to know her more right when I realized it was going to be difficult to work with her... it wouldn't have made things any easier but at least, I wouldn't have gotten a headache.  I would have probably tried different things to accommodate what the REAL problem was - marrying her bipolar challenges with my control freak challenges.

What I'm trying to say is... sometimes, we get ourselves too stuck on our perspectives of what the problem is, that we forget to learn about the other person and miss what the REAL problem actually is.

 

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8 hours ago, yw-pres-sml said:

I don't feel she can or should serve in the organization if she feels this way about the president, whether I was serving in that capacity or not. However, I do not want her to feel I released her out of retaliation and as a power move. I do not want this energy or dissension in the YW organization. I want a happy and healthy environment for my girls to thrive in. What do I do?! 

WARNING! Man's perspective:

I think what has been shared above is amazing. But if you can't seem to fix things, I would release her regardless of the backlash from her. She may defile your name, drag it in the dirt... but that doesn't really matter at the end of the day. The YW need a healthy place to go to and they deserve leaders that will give them the attention and direction they need. She is focused on who is right, you need to be focused on what is right for the YW. EVEN IF you were as terrible as she thinks you are, it sounds like it is her that is driving wedges into the YW leadership and causing contention.

The righteous leading of the YW is far more important than her feelings.

Edited by Fether

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9 hours ago, scottyg said:

Kids are smart...they can see and feel contention.

So true! @yw-pres-sml So sorry to hear this! I do hope that bishop is sympathetic. You are obviously very dedicated and conscientious. You take your calling seriously..

Good idea to inform the bishop. Doing so may help those who serve with this sister in the future. Good luck! 

Edited by Sunday21

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22 hours ago, omegaseamaster75 said:

So a couple of observations,

1. I would avoid group texts, our voice is not heard via text message. I know that there is a reluctance these days to pickup a phone and call people but it reduces the misunderstandings.

2.  Over communicate, I have found that when you take away people excuses they stop making them.

3. There seems to be some hostility coming from her side of things. I would ask that she be released immediately before the waters are tainted any further. I wouldn't take no for an answer. You have stewardship over the YW. 

4. Don't lose any sleep over it. In this life we can't please everyone it's impossible wrap your head around that idea and you'll sleep better. 

I completely agree that text messages are the least effective way to communicate these things. And yes, I should have called her when I was initially apologizing. My thought process in texting that message what that it was getting late in the evening and I wanted her to be able to read it on her own time. I think her response also should have never been written in a text - very alarming that another adult woman would escalate it in such a medium. That all said, any further conversations regarding this are occurring verbally and preferably in person.  

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Hi, I have a couple of questions/thoughts about all of this. First, I would like to know how did you feel when the Bishop asked you to call this sister to be your adviser? (knowing that she was upset about being released).

You also mentioned that your 2nd counselor expressed concern about this adviser not attending meetings, planning lessons or assisting in planning activities and you prayed about it and expressed in the chat group the need to support one another and that a big part of that is attending activities and Sunday meetings as often as possible. How often are these meetings? Sundays too?

Personally, I'm not a fan of addressing these issues by text... I think they can come across as passive-aggressive. However, it is not uncommon for people to speak "in general" when in fact they want to talk to ONE person but they are trying to avoid confrontation. This method is ineffective in my view.

Having said that, I'm a little surprised that you didn't mention your course of action (after praying). Based on what you wrote, it seems like you prayed and then posted in the group chat. But, what about the most important issue...What about finding out WHY this sister has not been attending meetings/planning activities? Maybe a  home visit? A face to face chat? Maybe she is indeed (as the Bishop stated) upset that she was being released and this should have been a great opportunity to show her that you are not here to boss her around or to make her feel less but to love her, support her and serve along with her.

In my experience as a Church leader, sisters need to feel reassured because they go through so much... and this is why we need to focus more on the WHY rather than just expect them to fulfill certain expectations just because "that's their calling". I kindly suggest that you focus on the WHY and try to reach out to her, you will not only gain a sister who will support you but also a friend.

Edited by Suzie

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This is simple.  The YW deserve only the best.  Bishop should release the sister no questions asked.  You get to move forward with a functional spiritual presidency and advisors.  I would not settle for any different answer.

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