Monday, February 22, 2010

And I Thought Last Sunday Was Bad

Disclaimer: It may or may not be possible that I have given you the wrong impression of my next couple of weeks.
I mean, I don't really intend to blast anybody or make any over the top proclamations.  My whole goal is just to write ....anything.... and then post without the crazy editing and sanitizing I usually do.  And without telling myself that what I'm writing is stupid and I should just delete the whole thing.  (Like I am right now.)

But I DO appreciate your responsiveness, and I realize that you may have entirely understood already, but it's hard to make comments like  - idk - "Ramble on!" or whatever, and have it sound really, uh supportive.  So thanks!  I maintain that my imaginary friends are The Best.

Ok: On With The Rambling

Sundays wear me out these days.  As you know, The Brain and I are in charge of our ward youth trek this summer.  (For those who have never heard of this, it's basically a 5 day reenactment of the Mormon pioneers pushing handcarts across the plains of Wyoming)  We have an amazing committee -- and so many people in the ward who have volunteered to help.  But I have come to find out that everyone has an opinion on what should be happening with the youth conference, and everyone wants to tell me about it.  Or tell someone on the committee, who will tell me about it.  Or just complain about it in general, I don't know.

Yesterday I was told that there is just too much going on for these kids.  The extra meetings, the monthly assignments, and especially the walking they're supposed to do is taking up too much time, and we are asking too much.   Yes.  It's a lot of effort to prepare to walk 42 miles pushing a handcart. Over 5 days.  In period clothing.

The very next person I talked to was angry that the girls aren't doing enough, and why has the Relief Society  been asked to make bonnets and aprons for the girls?  They should be doing all that themselves.  They need to spend the time so they'll appreciate it.  Ok but here's the thing.  The girls are sewing 2 skirts each, and I will tell you that the girls in our ward DO NOT SEW.  The skirt project is already stressing out my clothing chairman, to the point where she's thinking about quitting.

I also talked to someone who is unhappy that we aren't sponsoring more group walks, someone who thinks firesides take away from family time, and various other people with other suggestions. In fairness, there were also several people who are excited and extremely generous with what they offered.

So I guess what I'm learning is - 

It's not personal.   I have to keep telling myself that, and  it's a tough one for me, but I think I am really learning that.  The exhausting part for me is trying to keep everyone ELSE from getting offended.


I am happy to hear suggestions and thoughts - OF COURSE.  But I'm learning that when it's someone else's project, and it's ME giving the thoughts,  a couple of words about something that's going well will go a long way.   Also if you have a solution and not just a problem, it makes you sound like less of a whiner and more of a solver.

And I would much rather be a solver.


I just found out this morning that the website link that we sent out with some flyers for the kids got written as .org instead of .net.
The one we sent out goes to a p*rn site. 


I have no idea what to do about that.


Heather said...

How sad. Um, good luck?!? It will all be worth it, I think.

Becky N. said...

I'm probably one of the people who would be whining about how much the kids are expected to do. But I'm not annoying enough to actually VOICE it to the person in charge. ;)

I'm sorry you're dealing with all the yo-yo sorts of feedback, there. Planning a MAJOR event on top of feeling like everyone wants you to change it for them, geez. I'm sorry. Stressful, I'm sure.

I grew up in WA state, and our trek was more low-key than they typically do out here in the rockies, I think. We only took one outfit. We only walked for one day (granted, it was in the chilling rain with muddy ground... but it wasn't 40+ miles!!). Then there were a lot of trek-themed activities, like making butter, killing chickens, shooting guns. So fun, lol. I have to say, though, after the greuling first day of pulling/pushing those handcarts, the "meal" we at at camp -chicken broth and a single roll- was probably the very best thing I've ever eaten in my entire life.

Anyway. You're rambling, I'm rambling. Is it evil that I find your p*rn site predicament giggle-worthy? :P (But seriously.... good luck with that situation....)

Beverly @ The Buzz said...

You do a trek every year? Wow. We did one years ago and those involved (youth and leaders) still call it the Death March. And we only went 8 miles in regular clothes. Wonder what those whiners would say if you just called the whole thing off?

off topic: I just noticed your twitter about pantyhose being outdated. Say what? I didn't know either. What do you do instead? Go bare-legged? No way--I'd have to shave everyday! Wear those ugly leggings? That ain't happening either on this 50+ body.

Janell said...

Ok, that web link mistake is classic.

Ah, I was Laurel president when my stake did the trek thing. I flat out refused to go - I have no interest in pushing handcarts, being subjected to water and food deprivation (I wish that were an exaggeration), and killing chickens. The stake YW president gave me a lecture in a hallway of church. I can't remember what I responded, but the contents was, "The money I earn from my internship is more important to me." To this day I can't say that decision was a mistake - if anything, it was a good decision.

Years later I went on a YSA trek in Wyoming. It was a fun experience - right down to sleeping through the entire 2 hour devotional. Seriously, they wake me up in the early am, march me up a hill only to turn around at the top and march back down, push a cart another 2 miles, and then expect me to stay awake while people talk? My body doesn't work that way.

What I liked best about the trek was the two months of prep we did for it. We spent a lot of time learning about the handcart pioneers, and that effort made stomping around in Wyoming more meaningful.

Ramble ramble ramble

Thank the supporters. Ignore the criticisms. Keep doing what you think best. Rah rah

Yvonne said...

People are so helpful, eh ; )

Sometimes it's very sad, but I think I need my thickest skin on Sundays.

I'm sure you and your hubby are doing a fabulous job and I'm not just offering flattering words--I've had the pleasure of meeting you and heard you talk about your love of the youth (and the Lord).

Something I have learned (and try to remember) you can't please all of the people and some time you can't please anyone, but as long as you are doing what you know is right (and you know) don't worry about it.

The walking is taking too much time--well, if they don't want to walk, they will be the ones who suffer when they are on trek.

My suggestion: Make a list of all the complainers and pass it on to your Stake leaders for suggestions for the next Trek.

I have about one more chapter to read of "Fire of the Covenant" about the Willie/Martin Handcart companies. Have them read that--and they may all sing a different tune.

Hang in there, my friend.

Annie said...

I have to admit to just skimming through the post, but I do have a comment to make.

I am a big believer in family time, BUT

I think years later a teenager would remember the fireside that they attended that helped them get ready for the trek more than the bowl of popcorn they shared with their mom as they watched The Amazing Race.

I've never been on a trek, my sibiling had. They started doing them again in our stake and the reports I get is that it changes kids. They have an experience they will draw from for the rest of their lives.

Keep up the good work. I guess that is what I really wanted to say.

Catherine said...

I think you're doing great! And the web site thing is really kind of funny. Besides, how many of the kids still have their flier or can find it and then will take the initiative to check out the web site. Of course, if you broadcast the mistake, lots of them will probably check it out. I'm all for making new lists to hand out at the next fireside in case they lost the old one.

Also, one of my favorite quotes, which I've always attributed to Brother Brigham, goes something like: He who takes offense when none is intended is a fool; he who takes offense when it is intended is a bigger fool.

The mad woman behind the blog said...

All I have to offer are my prayers and support.
The only thing I've done similar to this was to take a bunch of 13 year old girl scouts down a river for 4 days. Not overly demanding. The most prep work we did was camping out for a night before and packing and repacking our canoes. But the little food we got was SO GOOD.
May you have the grace and strength to handle all that comes your way and the knowledge that you're doing your best.

goddessdivine said...

I think you get a ticket to the Celestial Kingdom for this. Hats off to you.

(The porn site thing is FUNNY.)

The Mom said...

Okay, so I was eating when I read the last part about the porn site, and I nearly chocked! Someday, you will look back on this and laugh.

jjstringham said...

If I lived near you I would totally offer to help with the skirt/bonnet sewing stuff. But since we are several states away I'm guessing that's not much help.

Also, I'm assuming you've already sent a mass email along the lines of ".NET! It's .NET! .NET! .NET! .NET!!!!"

mormonhermitmom said...

I thought the .org ending was for charity organizations. How does a porn site get it? Free porn? Gah!

I'd say if a majority are mentioning the same suggestion, there may be something to it, otherwise, do your thing. I've never been in a ward that did a trek. I think it would be fun, but I know not everyone would and that's okay too.

Hang in there! Let there be sunshine in your soul as you put your shoulder to the wheel!

Lucy said...

I don't care what you're position is in the ward, or how much time you try to correlate everything to make everybody happy, somebody is gonna bitch! And everybody thinks that THEIR idea of whatever is going on is the RIGHT way to do it. The Church! Love it to death, but it's full of .....challenging nuts. Not that I am one of those you understand. Oh no...not in the least. :(( You have permission to not publish this comment if you so desire. :))))))

Dave said...

next mondays post should be titled

"things people at church say when they are mad about being tricked into visiting a porn site, but don't want to use the word porn at church"

Emmy said...

Oh no! That is horrible about the site, sorry about that.

I was activities chair and I came to learn that no matter how wonderfully things go there will always be someone that isn't happy about something.. so I just don't even try or worry about it. They should have been happy, I could have just been like the previous activities chair and not done a thing... or wait, maybe that would have made some of the people happy ;)

Celeste said...

oops about the .net! I think you're doing a great job. After serving in leadership for a while, my Dad often quotes Lincoln, "You can please some of the people some of the time, and all of the people some of the time- but you will never please all of the people all of the time." I'm sure you're getting earfuls in a ward as "opinionated" as ours. =) Good luck!!

Loralee and the gang... said...

As a parent of a daughter who went on the Trek 2 summers ago, I know a tiny bit about what hard work it is to do. Not only to complete the trek, but to prepare for it. They HAVE to prepare for it, or they will NOT have a good experience. Their motto during their preparation? "We Can Do Hard Things". And they did!

Loralee and the gang... said...

...ok so I went back and read all the comments (cuz that's what I do - if I read them all before I respond, then my thoughts disappear from my brain) and I LOVE Yvonne's comment

"My suggestion: Make a list of all the complainers and pass it on to your Stake leaders for suggestions for the next Trek."

You Have to do that...

Tammy said...

I'm not trying to be a brown noser or anything...but I just have to say that I am SO glad that you and the Brain are heading this huge undertaking. Thank you for the many, many, many hours that you have already put into this. I think you guys are doing a fabulous job. It's tough, at least for me, being in a leadership position and getting "feedback" like you've described. (Can I just say I love my new calling-teaching Primary.) So having had that leadership experience, I think we should support those who are willingly giving so much of their time.

RhondaLue said...

I always find that the ones complaining and grumbling the LOUDEST are the ones that refuse to lift a finger and help in any way, on any THING.

There are a couple of things that bug me within a particular program but I have a deep knowledge that those serving in that organization are putting all their hearts and souls into it. I cannot go grumbling about minor things when they work so hard and have their hearts in the right place. I just cannot do that to people.

I've been on the receiving end of the criticism, or suggestions, and it's a tough spot to be in. It sounds like you handle it well. Once, just ONCE, I'd like to gather the guts to hand over all my materials to the person complaining and say, "You think you can do a better job? Well, I'm sure you're right. Here ya go." Really, I daydream about doing that!

The p*rn site thing is freaking funny. Not right now, not for YOU...but for us...FUH-NEE!

rocslinger said...

Bless you and bless the brain.

I like Yvonne's idea and I would suggest something simular. As you said you like people to give solutions not problems. I think you should insist on it. For example if someone complains about to much hiking say to them that so and so thinks that we wont get enough hiking in and the kids need to be in shape, what would you sugest, good maybe you could schedule the times that we can hike and not interfere with family time, Here are the phone numbers of all the parents involved.

The pr&n site........funny.

Vern said...

I think that's just your ward's special way of trying to make the whole experience authentic. Imagine YOU are Brigham Young, and you just told everyone to pack up and move. Except I bet the women didn't have to say, "But the girls don't seeewww!!" Can you imagine? That would be scandalous.

LisAway said...

You know, in some ways I'm glad I almost never have (get) to communicate with anyone outside my family, ever. Keep up the good attitude.

East of Eden said...

I'm sorry people are backseat driving you. I'd say when you get those people, give them the option to be part of the solution, instead of whining about it. "Ok fine Brother SoandSo, you are now in charge of the Ward Walking Committee." That'll shut them up! :)

Becky said...

I've dealt with that kind of stuff before. And that's why I never want to be in charge of anything ever ever again.

Seriously, though, not taking it personally is the best course of action.

However, I have no advice whatsoever about the p*rn-sight incident, though your have my deepest condolences. :)

beckers said...

Wow. Being in charge sure gives you a new perspective about how to be a good support, doesn't it?

Hilarious about the .org vs .net.

You are amazing. I wish I was on your team....I'd be helpful and only give my 2 cents when asked for. :)

JustRandi said...

I'm willing - heck I'm ASKING for people's input. I'm just saying that I want more than the 2 cents. If you're going to say something, just make sure there's a solution involved.

or a compliment.

Because that doesn't yell narcissism or anything, does it?

I want 3 cents, people!

Dave said...

offer them a brownie

that'll mellow them out :-)

Barbaloot said...

solution: Don't do a trek. I'm not broken hearted that I never went on one:)

No, but really, good luck. I hope you are able to enjoy it:)

mindyluwho said...

Years ago when I was a lowly Primary teacher, I wasn't the best. Then I got made into a Primary counselor and realized how hard it was when Primary teachers weren't the best. When I got released and made into a Primary teacher again...I was THE BEST!

It's always hard being in charge when people who aren't in charge don't know how to support people who are in charge. But something tells me that you will do an AWESOME job!

Gramzer said...

You were chosen by inspiration for a very difficult job. One that may or may not have some rewards in this life but will have significance in life's of those that participate. I tended grand kids over the weekend. The dog in the household is very old and sick. On the verge of seeing the "other side." Sunday a m I hear no sound coming from the dogs sleeping space. I am thinking he probably crossed over during the night. It goes through my mind that I have no information on "what to do if the dog dies." My 16 year old granddaughter is not helpful. I say we will dig a hole in the back yard, say a prayer and put the dog to "rest." She says "I don't think I can do that." Good news, the dog lives. But it made me think of pioneer woman in the hand cart company who buried their children beside the trail. We have all got to toughen up. Get a grip. Walk it or don't walk it. Attend or don't attend. Quit complaining. Where ever you are just pick up the wagon and head west. Keep the list of names, give it to the Stake Pres for next year.

Rebecca said...

I wonder if the real pioneers had to deal with this crap.

And I know it isn't funny, but I'm laughing about the .org/ .net mixup. Whoops. Hope that one gets solved pronto!

enSTYLEpedia said...

that's too perfect,, that's the most poetic thing I've ever read.
sorry, that sucks...but it's a little funny.

I hope the trek gets better for you..I have zero advice...we're having our first trek this year and had our first fireside on it on questions were answered. I just prayed for weeks straight that I wouldn't be called to be a "ma" and I wasn't. praise the Lord.

Amy Peterson said...

The only thing you can do is laugh! You know I'm doing the exact same thing for our Youth Conference-- and have already had serious blows with several people. So I have to keep reminding myself to laugh. The hardest things to get through, usually reap the greatest rewards. Remember you are serving the LORD, and changing lives! Remember what Grandpa K always said...... "Don't the b's get you down!"

Stephanette said...

If it makes you feel any better, I recently was put in charge of our Stake Prom. I morally offended at least three couples, had to change our plans at the last minute because it was tradition, and had three whole families refuse to participate because the prom theme wasn't based on scripture. Unfortunately one of those families is the only one that knows how to run the sound system. Two hours before the prom and I thought we were going to have to use my behemouth sound system from the eighth grade.

I've decided it's the nature of the beast and that I want to be a counselor, not the president.

Amy Peterson said...

Solution #1- If people have "suggestions" make your husband be in charge of collecting them. I'm just sayin men are usually less emotional about it. I've already had to assign my husband to the crazy ones!!!

Solution #2- I am a strong believer in less meetings. I also get that you need some time to prep these kids. Think about the meetings you just cant live without then cancel the rest.

Solution #3- Ask each member of your committee to PRAY like crazy for people to be excited, helpful, solution oriented.

Solution #4 - Get back up, a member of the bishopric usually works pretty good!

Solution #5- sounds like the relief society needs a good lesson on service, and welcoming the young women into relief society.

Solution #6- sounds like your clothing coordinator needs back up!

Solution #7- skip church, drive directly to Sonic order Diet Coke, and lock yourself in the car and Drink baby DRINK!!!

Help I need a user name! said...

Oh, my goodness. Or, as we say at work when things get super stressful (as they have every day for the past week), Heavens to Mergatroid. I don't know what that means, but it seems to help just to say it.

The p%rn site...oops! It will be funny for you some day! Hang in there!

rocslinger said...

Three cents? ok, Amy Petersons #7 idea somehow appeals to me but than rebelious ideas almost always appeal to me.

For the third cent, ummmm, I like your new hair cut.

Linda said...

Sound like you are in trek hell. Sounds like you need to go a little J. Golden Kimball on everyone and do what you need to do. Good luck!

aurora said...

This made me laugh and laugh and LAUGH! I love that you put in all of the crazy input that you got. Too funny.
I am a freshly-released YW president who is thankful for the break in hearing complaints--well except for dinner choices, wearing a coat, and hey, she got more! etc. ;-)

Melissa said...

I served as a counselor to a pretty darn awesome RS Pres a few years ago. People learned not to complain to her because she would put them in charge or give them an assignment to do with whatever they were whining about :) I learned a lot from her, but I hope I never have the chance to apply it. I'm very happy following and not leading.

Good luck! I'm sure it will go well... and the kids will never forget it. I can promise you that!

Katie said...

Ah, I remember going on the Martin's Cove Trek a few years ago. We did a lot of the things you talked about, such as having firesides, monthly assignments, and being challenged to walk more. And even though it sometimes seemed like a pain, I know that by doing all those things, I was so much more prepared physically and spiritually for the trek. I don't think people realize how much harder the trek will be if you aren't used to walking a lot. The girls in my ward sewed our own bonnets and skirts, but with the help of ward seamstresses...None of us knew how to sew, but it was a good experience. And the group walking thing? The young women tried to do that in our ward, and no one showed up...haha. But to those who think that there is "too much" for the kids to handle..that's just silly. I think all of those things make the experience so much better. :)