Sometimes being rude is not the worst thing, people

This year I am determined to be One Who Does Her Visiting Teaching. (For non-LDS friends, this is a church program where we are assigned a couple of people from our congregation to visit each month.) It's not in a "we're watching you and if you don't have enough gingham or Americana decorations in your living room then we're turning you in" way, but more of a "Hey, let's become friends so that when you need help after your seventh child is born I'll know about it and can bring nourishing cream-of-MSG-based casseroles to your home." Visiting Teaching is a little bit more fun among singles, I think, because lots of times what our sweet sisters really need is a night of chocolate, SLAs, and someone to tell them why that boy really was not even good enough for them and probably has a raging self-abuse problem, which is why she totally dodged a bullet and should actually be feeling very fortunate right now.

Anyway. Visiting Teaching. I am going to do it. I went to see one of the girls on my new route this past Sunday. She owns a nice townhome a few blocks away from me. I asked if she lives alone and she said that she used to have roommates but after a really bad experience she doesn't anymore. And never will again. In life. One example of The Badness was when her last roommate, who was insane and had an insane family, went out of town, gave a key to her felon sister, and told the sister she could stay there. My friend told the girl she could not stay, but she did anyway. For 3 weeks. Why my friend did not call the cops 3 minutes into THAT little scene is beyond me.

This is why I think the Young Women program would do well to add assertiveness training to its weekly activities. Please notice that I did not say "passive aggressiveness training" because that particular quality seems to cultivate itself quite well already and is possibly somehow spread through the water in the LDS chapel drinking fountains. But a bit of "Why we don't let people turn our homes into drug trafficking centers and risk waking up one morning to an empty house and a pair of missing kidneys" lessons would not go amiss, I think.


Jenny said... [reply]

I will work that into our weekly activities starting next Wednesday.

Sherry said... [reply]

I can think of a number of people, myself included, who could have used some of that training. I don't know what we did instead, except that we DID NOT play basketball. Stupid boys.

Liz Johnson said... [reply]

Dead serious, I have given more than one Relief Society lesson that was all-but-entitled "You Can Say NO: How not to be a doormat." If we could work this into the YW program, I would be forever grateful. I would also appreciate an accompanying curriculum of "Guilt Does Not Equal Humility" and "You Do Not Have to Scrapbook to be Temple Worthy."

Miss Hass said... [reply]

As one who is in charge of the visiting teachers, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing yours.

Also, I think you are absolutely right that we need assertiveness training. I mean, I guess so.

Azúcar said... [reply]

I am a fan of limits and not putting up with crap.

I think you're really onto something. Our girls really need to know that when something is not OK they should say something, or do something, to end the situation. I mean, honestly, let's take off the hairshirts and set some limitations of what we'll let randoms do to us.

Or, of course, the girls can just call me and I'll do the dirty work for them. I guess I'm also a fan of righteous indignation.

Not that I'm a huge Oprah watcher, but I love when she has Gavin DeBecker on, who wrote The Gift of Fear. If we'd just listen to ourselves and stop trying to be polite when every instinct is telling us to change the situation, so much crap could be prevented.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Jenny, good call. They will grow up to thank you.

Sherry, lol. Seriously.

Liz, I'm glad you've got your RS sisters' backs. And your other curriculum ideas sound spot on. Because I actually say "blah" to scrapbooks now. Do you hear me, world? BLAH.

Hass, if I were drinking I would have spit it out at the end of your comment. You funny thing.

Azucar, SERIOUSLY! I mean, it's amazing what girls (me included, I'm sorry to say) will go along with. Later they look back and think "Wow, that could have gone really badly." And then I want to shake them. Because yeah. Instincts are there for a reason.

Science Teacher Mommy said... [reply]

I know what you are saying, but every time I've taught YW and pushed things into that realm, you always get some mother with raised eyebrows begging for your release.

Your commie pinko self will love this website:


If I like to scrapbook, may I keep visiting?

KarateMommy said... [reply]

I'm pretty sure, even after being pregnant 7 times, you can still find the value in some wonderful chocolates, and a girl's night. You just won't be bashing the latest disaster of a date. You'll be bashing other things, like the wonderful pet of a stomach those 7 pregnancies gave you. No, but seriously, just becasue you're married with children, doesn't mean you won't need some great visiting teachers, just to visit with. Not only to bring you 2000 mg Of Sodium casseroles. ;)

Anth said... [reply]

MSG casseroles! I guess I really missed out - when I had my kid, people brought stuff like pizza and lasagna. But then, I'm not in Utah. ;)

Ooh how I would have loved some assertiveness training in YW! I hated pretty much every lesson in Laurels and had issues with my teacher because I felt like she was trying to mold us into little doormats. Sooo frustrating.

I am glad to hear you say BLAH to scrapbooking.

Saxon said... [reply]

I would love to be able to do my home teaching... except after two months of pestering him the EQ President still hasn't given me a list or new companion!

Nemesis said... [reply]

STM, wouldn't that be kind of a win-win? You'd get to teach assertiveness training AND you wouldn't have to do it for very long! That's how I define win-win, anyway. It's where I win no matter what. And of course you're still invited! I really admire a lot of my friends' scrapbooking skills, but I had an epiphany a few years ago where I realized that it just wasn't my thing and so I released myself. It feels wonderful.

Karatemommy, of course you are the voice of reason here. When my route includes mommies in need of fun I will remember to pull out the chocolate. ;-)

Anth, you missed out! Only actually you probably are much better off this way. Since it's been about 20 years since I've actually eaten a "visiting teacher" meal I'm not sure what they make now. One time my roommate and I made beef stroganoff for our sweet visiting teacher, if that counts. We felt kind of like our moms. Miss Hass, was that with you?

Nerd Goddess said... [reply]

Amen. On pretty much everything. :)

And what happens when all those un-assertive girls grow up and try to date guys that are shy? Nothing. Because then the guy isn't assertive, and the girl isn't assertive, and the girl ends up in a bad relationship with some overly-assertive-egotistical maniac.

Katie said... [reply]

I'm in charge of Achievement Days.

Any ideas how I can teach them assertive-ness? It comes to me pretty naturally (I'm overly bossy and mean sometimes...must work on that) so I have no idea how to teach it.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Hi Katie, if this is the kind of thing you want to teach, one way to do it with a religious context might be to use the story of Joseph in Egypt, with the whole "fled and got him out" thing. He wasn't worried about how it might look or what the consequences might be--he just knew he needed to get out there and he did. You could talk about how it's okay to risk making a fuss and seeming rude when your safety (physical or spiritual) is at risk. We've been given internal indicators (whether it's instinct, the Spirit, etc.) to help protect us but we have to listen. That's just one idea, does anyone have any others?

EmAndTrev said... [reply]

I laughed out loud at your "cream of MSG" casseroles assessment. So true. I had a friend in a somewhat similar situation, although it was *her* own friend and she kicked said friend to the curb after a few days of non-stop nonsense. I'm all about getting rid of passive-aggressive training. :)

MadMadameMim said... [reply]

I have to say that as a laurels Addvisor I am constantly chucking entire lessons and pulling out conference talks. The girls love it. Not to mention my "don't date to marry till you've been through a couple years of college", "gain a personal testimony of motherhood so they don't become a statistical depressed young mormon mom", and "even if you don't want to go on a mission you have just as much responsibility and need to develope knowledge and a testimony as the young men" lessons. Self assertiveness and self confidence is one of the things I try to teach these girls. I would say example is the best teacher and then teach them in various lessons to belive in them selves, feel of worth, and to stand up for what they belive and talk about how. The Joseph lesson is a great send off, just keep building. Some of hte greatest lessons are the little repeated phrases. Think of your mom living in your head, that is what really sticks with you. I have to say you struck a cord with me as far as teaching YW goes. But as I climb three flights of stairs down off my soap box let me just say that I love visiting teaching and the friendships it creats in my life. I love working with the YW and love that they consider me a friend.

Rynell said... [reply]

Well said.

I (thank heavens!) received my own assertiveness training from a close friend many years ago at the tender age of 19. She really did title it, "Assertiveness Training." I will be forever grateful. Chocolate and discussions about literature we deemed worthy were also keys to binding our friendship.

And I cannot believe the crap I used to put up with.

Anonymous said... [reply]

Um, I'm not sure what you mean by assertiveness in the younger (under 25) generation. They all seem to have more than enough from what I've encountered, but then I would be labeled as being more on the passive side. But even old dogs can (and are) learning new tricks.
In the VT vein, I finally got tired of a sister dissing me and I turned up at her office today with a loaf of bread from Great Harvest. I even interupted her on a conference call. If she hadn't come out for the bread, the rest of the ladies in the office would've gladly taken it off my hands. Last year I never would've done that. I have another single sister I visit that I usually take out to dinner. That always works as well.


TOWR said... [reply]

I have been touting an anti-roommate agenda FOR YEARS. I don't know why more people haven't jumped on the bandwagon. This way of life is simply fantastic. I highly recommend.

Frey said... [reply]

Ha! Does being a sister make them a legal replacement? Did she tell her work that her sister would be subbing for her for a few weeks?

I find it a little worriesome when sketchy roommate friends from "back home" show up to crash at our place. There are quite a few things in my room that I'd rather not be available to the general public thank you. If that's what I wanted I'd put my checks, valuables, electronics etc. out on a table in the front yard.

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