Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Wimpy Generation

So, I’ve been in Young Womens for a while now. And, I’ve grown to love them (even my two quiet Beehives who barely say a word or crack a smile). I think they are amazing girls, each in their own way. And, I love being able to associate with them and be involved in their lives.

But, I struggle with a few things.

No one wants a Debbie Downer in their presidency. And so I often find myself hesitating with suggestions because I sound critical. And I hate that! But, on the other hand, I feel it’s part of my calling to let the president know what I think.

So, I’m trying to find balance. And as such, I’m not going to complain about anything in this post (which was my initial plan).

But, instead, I am going to tell you about something that I’ve been trying to do in my lessons and activities. And that is to combat what I call “the Wimpy Worldview.”

Now, I’m not talking about physical strength here. What I’m talking about is that character from Popeye the Sailorman; the guy who would say in every episode “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

As I’ve gotten older, and am farther removed from the teenage years (and early 20’s for that matter), I’ve noticed how Wimpy’s philosophy has taken over the mentality of today’s youth.

I’ve seen this, mildly, in some of my young women. The fact that most things should be delayed gratification does not cross their minds.

They aren’t entirely to blame. Our consumer industry has colored their world with “I want it now!” (to quote Veruca Salt).

But, this mentality will only lead to unhappy adults, and unhappy lives. And it’s something that I’ve been concerned about. To truly find value in things, they need to be worked for.

And I see this in connection with Personal Progress.

Some of the girls love P.P. and some don’t. When I was in Y.W., I wasn’t so much of a fan. It kind of bugged me that people were trying to measure my spirituality. I received my medallion to please my parents and leaders, but I never really cared about it.

Years later, I can now see the value in it. And I love being able to review my old P.P. stuff and see how far I’ve come in regards to my testimony, gospel knowledge, and overall growth.

But, I worry that some of my girls have applied the “Wimpy Worldview” to Personal Progress (which exists only to help them build their testimonies and develop their talents), as well as their spiritual development in general (separate from P.P.).

Some seem to be sliding by today on other people’s testimonies (which is okay to a point), and not paying the price for their own (waiting for “Tuesday”), and then expecting a testimony to be there in the future.

The reverse is true, of course. You need to pay today (i.e. “saving up” by reading your scriptures, praying, etc.) to insure you have it tomorrow (i.e. the habits of scripture study, prayer, etc.). And this leads to a testimony filled reservoir.

I’ve also been thinking about this in my own life, except instead of the “you” (as in “I’ll gladly pay you Tuedsay…) meaning someone else, I see it as meaning future Liz. (Those of you who know me, know how much I love to talk about future Liz.)

Confused? I’ll explain through a few examples:

A) I’ll gladly let future Liz pay the price for present Liz by not exercising today, so that I can sit on my substantial rear-end and do nothing.

B) I’ll gladly let future Liz pay the price for present Liz by not developing any of my talents today, so that I can sit and watch T.V. for 5 hours.

C) I’ll gladly let future Liz pay the price for present Liz by not reading my scriptures today, so that I can read that magazine instead.

You see what I mean, now?

Reading through these examples, you can easily see that the person I’m screwing over is myself. By not being willing to pay the price today, or to delay getting that “hamburger,” I’ve ensured that I will never have those things.

I will never exercise. I will never develop my talents. I will never read my scriptures. The present is always in the present, after all.

And this is what I’m trying to help my young women to understand.

You know, reading over this, I don’t know why I’m telling you it. I guess because it’s just something on my mind. And you know how I am about that. But really, I’m just all over the place, so go ahead and disregard.

Or chalk it up to “random Liz thoughts.”

Now that I think about it, it IS “random Liz thoughts.”
Sorry about that…present Liz was once again putting off post cohesion for future Liz.


Gina said...

First, I love when you mention Future Liz. It's almost my favorite reference in the world.

Second, you should talk to my mom about this YW thing. She is dialed in to exactly what they need. She really put the YW in charge of the program as far as planning activities and such. Also encouraging the other leaders to guide the YW but let them plan.

Third, please oh please, mention your concerns to the president. As former president ourselves, we know the value of counselors' thoughts. Must, must must share!

Liz said...

Hmm... I should talk to your mom!

Does she have any tips for holding the young women accountable?

We've had a number of activities that the girls were supposed to plan and prepare, only to have nothing happen.

Mom said...

Notes from MOM Knecht:
Thank you, Gina, for your glowing opinion of my YW skills. They are waaaay overrated. I, too, am trying to figure this whole thing out. I, too, love these girls and love to be with them. As I have watched these girls I feel that personality and training play a key role in a girl's dependability. I have had girls who come up with ideas and I give assignments and they just get it done. There are others who just think "What's in it for me" and "will I get the glory?". But, the more assignment I hand out, and then letting them know what is expected, the more they come through. The past presidency did everything for them. They planned and carried out the activities, they didn't give the girls assignments at all, so when I came along and started requiring some action on their part, they were really excited, especially the Behives and Mia Maids. Most of the Laurels don't get too excited about anything. In their minds they are DONE. I just got a new class presidency which is showing a bit more interest. I can tell which girls have been given responsibility in the past and those who have not. It is all a training ground.

I love your Whimpy/Future Liz analogy. That is brilliant. Can I use it? I will give you credit.

As for sharing your views with the Presidency.....PLEASE!!! We are all entitled to inspiration and I am always welcoming my counselors and secretary's thoughts.

Liz, thank you for your random thoughts. They help us all.

Liz said...

Mom Knecht (I like calling you that.) ;-)

First of all, I would be THRILLED if you ever wanted to use any of my analogies--simply, thrilled!

Second, thanks for the tips on helping the young women stick to planning activies. I'll have to re-suggest this to my President. She has a tendency to do a lot of it herself.

As for my Beehives, starting next month, they're going to be in charge! (Even if they don't utter 12words between them. I have VERY shy Beehives.)

Wendy said...

I think your examples about future Liz are really eye-opening and illustrate the concept SO WELL. We all do this every day and I know I reading this post has really made me want me to examine my choices and do better for Future Wendy.

Liz said...

You're right, Wendy.

I think we do make choices like this every day. It's really hard to sacrifice now for our future selves, but I think it's necessary.

At least we should try--even if we fail. We owe that to ourselves.

Rachel said...

As soon as I finished reading your post I very nearly screwed Future Rachel over with a work assignment but then thought, "No, Present Rachel, why don't you just give Future Rachel a break." It totally worked! You're a genius. Future Rachel owes you.

Anonymous said...

Liz my love, you're so right. I was actually just thinking about this yesterday, things that I would go back and change to help "Future Emmy." Which is actually PRESENT Emmy. I wish I'd instilled the principle of daily exercise as a way of life, rather than a means to an end, in my younger self. I wish I'd pointed out boys at school and said "Do not speak to him!" I wish I'd poured cold water over myself every morning in Seminary and said "Learn this stuff!" I love the realization that it's never too late though.:) Let's be future friends

Heather said...

:-) Future friends--haha, that's cute. Good one Emmy.
Also, I like your analagy Liz. It's a very goood way of looking at life...and a good motivational tool--thanks for sharing!
Where do you come up with this stuff? I mean, the parallel is so obviously fittig, but no one else drew the line that you always manage to find. Thanks again!

Amanda said...

It's always funny to me that some of my favorite posts of yours have the little disclaimer at the end saying 'disregard.' I of course don't disregard any of what you say! Love you

Amanda said...

P.S. You need to share with the President. You are probably the most insightful person I know and I remember getting advice and counsel from you in a small room near the chapel in the Clarmont Ward. You were a blessing. I was just thinking the other day about Bishop's three hour weekly PECs. Yikes!!