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cook

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Giving wrong examples?
« on: July 10, 2019, 01:36:38 am »
I ran into this article:  http://www.ldsliving.com/How-We-Teach-Our-Kids-to-Hate-Speaking-in-Church-Without-Meaning-To/s/80977?utm_source=ldsliving&utm_medium=email

I have to say I disagree. My now 16 year-old-son did well in giving talks in Primary and said he'd have no problem giving a talk if they'd have a YM presentation, where everyone or most talked. He's never had a problem doing other things where he needs to be in front of an audience and at school presentations are not a thing. But giving a talk was for some years something he could not do. Now he has given one sacrament meeting talk, about a year ago.

His fears did not come from what others said, on the contrary, when people have expressed giving a talk is something they're not comfortable with, yet have done it, it has been a good example for him , telling him that one day he can do that too and that you can do things you're afraid of or that are hard for you.

I haven't heard those expressions as much as the article implied and not in a joking way, so I get the point it can be irritating. But is it giving a bad example?

Which led me to believe that I think we have a problem of assuming in the church, in many ways. Assuming this is because of that or because I feel this way, others do too. And especially assuming that things in other places are or are felt the same way as in our place.

My nephew just blessed the sacrament last Sunday with half of his hair bright red. Was he giving a bad example? My son at times skipped his YM activities to play football (soccer) with his team but didn't do that on Sundays. Was he giving a bad example? Our stake president's daughter's dresses are tight and short. Is he giving a bad example? A counselor in YW is taking her young children to day care to work as a social worker with some very troubled youth, is she giving a bad example? Our bishop's young son doesn't come to church on all Sundays because he plays ice-hockey, is the bishop giving a bad example? The youth Sunday school teacher just built a sauna in a van with his friends, is he being a bad example? We (probably all members in Finland) go to sauna naked, are we bad examples?

Why would we need to think of anything being a bad example? Why would we assume that others think that A is a bad example because we think so?

I love going to the temple because there I see so many people from my youth who could be considered "bad examples", even in "bigger" things like drug usage and sexual behaviour. It was just their path and I am so glad it led to the temple.

« Last Edit: July 10, 2019, 08:57:57 am by cook »
 
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AndrewR

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Re: Giving wrong examples?
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2019, 07:59:27 am »
I think some things are, and some things aren't, some depend on circumstances.

I'll take one of each.

  • My son at times skipped his YM activities to play football (soccer) with his team but didn't do that on Sundays.

I don't see this as a bad example. Supporting our outside activities is a good thing. If his team practised every week on youth night, maybe he might need to re-think.

  • My nephew just blessed the sacrament last Sunday with half of his hair bright red.
If half his hair is red because he has chosen to do that as a statement of fashion, I would say he needs to re-read For the Strength of Youth. However, if this is a case of supporting a team, a charity event, etc. and it hasn't washed out yet, certainly not a bad example.
[/list]

  • Our stake president's daughters dressed are tight and short.
I think he has a lot to think about. For FSY there is a fireside at which he will be presiding, where the standards of the our dress code are given. He may well be considered to be preaching one thing, and allowing another. It would also, of course, depend on the ages of the daughters.
[/list]

Just my thinking though.
Don't ask me, I only live here.
Nauvoodle since March 2005 #1412
 
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dyany

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Re: Giving wrong examples?
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2019, 10:07:28 am »
Not seeing effects in your son doesn't mean the general principle isn't true.  The constant repetition of lame talk intros, including jokes about avoid bishopric calls and the like, really, REALLY affects people.  Not necessarily in making them afraid (though it can, even if they don't think that is what caused the fear), but in normalizing the negative perception of giving talks. 
It's one thing to acknowledge being nervous about giving a talk and feeling inadequate. It's quite another to push that sentiment until you not only aren't admitting a weakness to help others, but actually fulfilling what has become a societal norm. 

Separate example of the same concept: calling math or science 'geeky' and being derisive of geek culture is very popular among kids, especially teens, to the point that smart kids often feel SHAME when they know answers, raise their hand in class, and average kids AVOID math and science courses and have a base-level anxiety that negatively impacts their performance in those areas BECAUSE WE HAVE NORMALIZED AND MADE 'COOL' THE 'I'M BAD AT MATH' IDEA.  It's bad enough that they've done psychological studies and confirmed that we talk ourselves INTO being worse at math and giving up more quickly at improvement in those areas. 

I don't know if the same constant and ubiquitous derision of talking in church is the same in your country as it is in ours, especially in the mountain west, but I kind of doubt it.  Its effects are subtle and basic enough that most people don't realize how much it is affecting them, because it subtly alters their perceptions rather than being a clear, definitive example that they cite when asked, "why don't you like to talk in sacrament meeting?"  That's how those things work. 
 
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Taalcon

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Re: Giving wrong examples?
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2019, 01:58:28 pm »
Church members learn to give talks by listening to talks. There is no training. What you hear is what you do. This goes for new converts, to children. If nobody talks to them about how to write a good talk, they will default to what they hear, which begins with, "When [Bishopric Member] called me to ask me to give a talk, I [give reaction, embarrassment, attempt to get out of it] (wait for chuckle.). So then I looked up [the topic] in Webster's Dictionary/Bible Dictionary. It says, [Read Definition]....[give short life experience], I know the Church is True. In The Name of Thy Son Jesus Christ, Amen."

It's sort of become Latter-day Saint Liturgy in and of itself, where a great deal of the talk is given is the fluffy framework!

But unless we as leaders, teachers, or parents coach those giving a talk - and give better examples when we DO get the opportunity - it won't change.

I've helped my daughter prepare for 2 primary talks. Last time, it was to be based on a reading from that week's Come Follow Me. I asked her to pick what story or passage stood out the most. She chose the scripture, and talked about what she liked about it, and an example it reminded her of in her life, how she did, or would apply it. After having a little bit of a discussion, I went to the computer, and acted as her scribe, as she worked out what she wanted to say. I helped suggest some structure, but I wanted as much as possible to make sure what she said were her own words, and I transcribed them as she spoke them. I wanted this to be her talk, and not a talk her Dad wrote that she recited. This made sure her own personality and ideas and language were there.

We'll probably do this a couple more times before she feels ready to strike out and write a draft herself. But it shows her a process, and shows that her ideas are worthwhile.

I think that a lot of those "bad examples" are just by people who honestly don't know any better. They aren't great examples, but it's not of their fault. They're following the examples of those set before them, who also may not have had any help either. It's self-perpetuating. It's be a great topic for a Youth Lesson (or series of lessons) on gathering ideas and presenting a talk. If the Youth all learn to give thoughtful talks, they'll grow into those giving the examples. It's a culture that needs to change.

Gesturing around and saying, "This is bad" is not helpful unless you're showing them what the "Good" replacement should look like, and how to achieve it.
 
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Iggy

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Re: Giving wrong examples?
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2019, 02:14:05 pm »
<snip> The constant repetition of lame talk intros, including jokes about avoid bishopric calls and the like, really, REALLY affects people. During one Teaching Council where our Branch President and the Stake President were in attendance the topic of giving talks came up. The primary teacher related how all of the primary children want to give talks in Primary, then the BP related how he just couldn't understand the member who readily agrees when called and asked but then starts the talk with how he got cornered into giving the talk. The Stake President said that perhaps it was time to hold a Fireside or several or even a 5th Sunday and *Teach* the proper way to give a Sacrament Talk. Remember the Sacrament is THE MOST SACRED MEETING, that was nearly 18 months ago - - no fireside and no 5th Sunday has happened Not necessarily in making them afraid (though it can, even if they don't think that is what caused the fear), but in normalizing the negative perception of giving talks.  Yes, normalizing the negatifve perception
It's one thing to acknowledge being nervous about giving a talk and feeling inadequate. It's quite another to push that sentiment until you not only aren't admitting a weakness to help others, but actually fulfilling what has become a societal norm.  My pet peeve is when the second speaker comes up and complains that the first speaker just gave his/her talk - "Oh Woe Is Me, what am I going to talk about now" I am so tempted to stand up and say: The talk you prepared, obviously Father feels the topic/subject is THAT important to be repeated

<-snip-> BECAUSE WE HAVE NORMALIZED AND MADE 'COOL' THE 'I'M BAD AT MATH' IDEA.  It's bad enough that they've done psychological studies and confirmed that we talk ourselves INTO being worse at math and giving up more quickly at improvement in those areas.  Or insert any school class or possible job opportunity, etc.Hubby brought up a similar subject last night in how those who are raised in the lower class areas in America, are taught that they are too stupid/dumb to rise above the lower middle class segregation.

I don't know if the same constant and ubiquitous derision of talking in church is the same in your country as it is in ours, especially in the mountain west, and in the Pacific Northwest but I kind of doubt it.  Its effects are subtle and basic enough that most people don't realize how much it is affecting them, because it subtly alters their perceptions rather than being a clear, definitive example that they cite when asked, "why don't you like to talk in sacrament meeting?"  That's how those things work.

AMEN Dyany! AMEN Taalcon!
 
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cook

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Re: Giving wrong examples?
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2019, 03:05:39 am »
I think my point was more general, but I'l comment on a few things first.

but perhaps that is about my point too, the assumption that it works the same way everywhere... It seems it really is a different culture over there. Yes, I've heard expressions such as "I felt oh no, when brother XX approached me and asked me to give a talk", "I was hoping he would pass me and go to ask someone else", but that is the about it. And that is not that many, certainly not any kind of norm. The only kind of "norm" about talks that have been seen at times is "today I will talk about subject X". Which you rarely hear anymore, because in every Ward I've been in, there has been lessons about giving talks, for youth and adults. Of course there are people who don't give that good talks, but that's another matter. For my son I also know there reasons behind his fears and they are not about this.

But at the same time, there is no stigma here about being good in school or liking mathematics. (my kids like it, two out of four love it!) I know this, because I am a teacher. The only similar thing that does exists is the thought parents pass on to their children about not being good at maths or languages, because they struggled with them at school. But even that is quite rare.

And I've served for several years in Primary in different Wards and I have only heard three children give talks that were written by their parents (they're from Philippines), unless the parents have used very childish language and grammar.

My point was more of a why would one focus on thinking something as a bad example instead of a good one. Why would not one think that the nephew with red hair is a good example of a person keeping the commandments even though he has some funny things going on or insecurities or what ever. Or a good example of a bishopric who see the person not the outward appearance. Why would not one think that the Stake President is a good example of parent letting the child use agency and coming to church as she is, instead of perhaps pushing her totally away from church with his demands? (Dress wise I'm usually on the side of thinking parents could do more, maybe should have done more earlier on, but still I would not think of their choices as an example either way).

I can see the point in thinking someone is a good example to others. But I can't really see a point in thinking someone sets a bad example. I think anyone coming to any church function in any way is giving a good example. Anyone doing the right thing, however imperfectly, is setting a good example.

The dressing issue is dear to me. And I know it is hard for some kids to follow the assumed standards because of how adults dress and don't follow those standards. Is it still about setting a bad example or just irritating because you have to have the discussions about how everyone makes their own choices etc.
 
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Taalcon

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Re: Giving wrong examples?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2019, 09:14:47 am »
Quote
My point was more of a why would one focus on thinking something as a bad example instead of a good one.

I think this is a fantastic point, and I'm disappointed that I missed it. It's common to default to one's self as the default, and differences from that as being diversions from the ideal.

And you're right - it is a cultural thing. I've been in wards and with leaders where if you have a beard and/or wear something other than a white shirt, it's assumed you're being a 'rebel' or are displaying an outward sign of some other thing. I've had a Stake President I worked with see me after I'd grown a beard, and joking/not-joking point it out, and then say something about , "It's okay, you can repent." - I would have thought nothing of it if I wasn't aware of things he has said about others and his judgment of their physical appearance.

And then there's my current ward, where, while there may be some other issues, beards and non-white shirts are common with even many of the most well-regarded members of the ward. Most don't even think of it anymore.

There's a young woman who served with my wife in nursery. She currently has bright red dyed hair. She's part of a very well loved and highly respected family in the ward. My first thought was, "Hey, that looks really cool!."

As a parent, it's really hit home how much a parent's reactions to something color a child's view of that thing. If you are consistent in treating something as normal, generally, they too will see it as normal, and those making a big deal of it will be the weird ones. Also, when you see them observing treating someone poorly or saying something poorly about something or someone they see without cause, it can be good to talk to them about what they observed, and what they thought about that.
 
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Iggy

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Re: Giving wrong examples?
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2019, 02:30:38 pm »
Quote
My point was more of a why would one focus on thinking something as a bad example instead of a good one.

I think this is a fantastic point, and I'm disappointed that I missed it. It's common to default to one's self as the default, and differences from that as being diversions from the ideal.
<snip>
There's a young woman who served with my wife in nursery. She currently has bright red dyed hair. She's part of a very well loved and highly respected family in the ward. My first thought was, "Hey, that looks really cool!."
<snip>
When I was still in my inactive years I went to church with my older sister. She called her ward The Newly Wed and the Nearly Dead Ward. There was one young couple that raised my eyebrows. The wife was totally Goth, she also wore tight slacks and platform spiked boots. Her hair was colored black and spiked. The husband's hair was dreadlocks, he wore a white shirt, his tie was draped in the front shirt pocket and he wore loose, tie-dye pants. My sister said: Yep, they each dance to a different drummer but the music is the same tune we dance to.

So Goth, 60's era hippies, beach bum, 70's Granny style or the rainbow colors of hair. It is the heart of the gospel that one embraces that matters. I try my best to sit like a lady wearing my skirts - but after 20 to 30 minutes my hips hurt, my feet are spiking and I need to bring my feet to rest up on the opposite knee. Doing this in a dress/skirt is NOT modest or ladylike in the least. Wearing dressy slacks prevents the slip & knickers from being exposed. THANK goodness my branch isn't a stickler on *Appropriate* Sunday Attire. Clean is the only stickler.

 
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Jason

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Re: Giving wrong examples?
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2019, 08:49:50 pm »
Guess what percent of people having anesthesia tell me they do not like needles prior to having their IV placed? Not quite 100%, but pretty close. I might be annoyed at hearing how that was what they had been fearing the most (rather than the large incision they were about to have) but it really gives me an opportunity to connect with them and let them know I have sympathy for them.

As public speaking is the number one fear of people, an amateur commenting in some manner how it is a difficult thing is a way if connecting with those in the audience, who likewise may have a fear of speaking. It may make me cringe, but it starts the communication process.

As for the other examples, I would want to evaluate a trend to understand what is happening. Are the tight clothes or bright hair on a continuum of moving away from, toward, or just hovering in place? It is even harder to judge youth, as there is an expected pushing of boundaries as they learn more about their eventual roles as adults.

In public conversation, and even private thoughts, I would tend toward positive affirmations, rather than pointing out perceived flaws. I am so grateful they came to church, rather than why are they behaving that way at church.

 
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Roper

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Re: Giving wrong examples?
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2019, 10:45:15 am »
On the beard thing:  Several years ago when I was called to the bishopric, I asked the Stake President if I needed to shave my beard off. He smiled and replied, "The Lord called you and you have a beard. Ask Him what you should do." I kept my beard. The first counselor in my current bishopric has a beard. At old Nauvoo, didn't we have a thread about beards and white shirts? IIRC, it went on for years and dozens of pages.

An example about giving wrong examples: When I teach new vocabulary words to my students, I sometimes use the Frayer Model to add visual organization. The word goes in a circle in the middle with a large box drawn around the outside. The box is in quadrants: Definition, characteristics, examples, and non-examples. I was in a professional development course where the instructor hated the Frayer Model and said we should never use it.  ::) Comparing examples and non-examples is a highly effective way of leaning.

I'm not sure how that fits with our current discussion, but it came to my mind as I was reading the posts.
 
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dyany

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Re: Giving wrong examples?
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2019, 11:04:57 am »
I think the article does it well.  Going to an individual after they've given a talk with the ubiquitous (in the western US, anyway) lead-in about avoiding the bishop 'joke' and reprimanding them would be inappropriate.  However, noting the general trend and pointing out the downside of it so that individuals can realize the issue for themselves and decide for themselves is VERY appropriate.  Because it absolutely DOES have an impact when it's as overdone as it is, and people not wanting to give up on it or feeling personally shamed (which is not happening) can't change the fact that it is something we need to be more thoughtful about. 

People do tons of clumsy and even hurtful things out of ignorance.  That's human.  Feeling defensive about it if confronted directly and personally, especially if the confronting is done in a rude way, is also natural.  But I think we as humans have become far too eager to take offense or get angry when we simply are exposed to information that challenges a general thing that we happened to have done or gotten used to or not thought about, without any consideration to the merit of the information itself or at least not trying to figure out where the information-giver might be coming from. 

A separate example: I have heard from a number of Europeans that one of the things that's disconcerting about Americans is how much we smile.  In American culture, a smile is not only standard but expected and sometimes even demanded, not because we are happy, but because it somehow is supposed to make the people around us more comfortable.  Some Americans get angry or defensive when they hear this from Europeans, even to the point of insulting Europe's different social culture as 'dour' or 'unfriendly,' without either thinking of the merits of their observation (we CAN be pretty fake here) or having respect for a culture that's just different in a way that doesn't hurt us one tiny bit.

i.e., this article has merits and notes real issues.  Just because you don't see it where you live doesn't mean it's not true.  Just because you never thought of this particular consequence of the behavior doesn't make it not true.  And most importantly, you don't need to feel shame if it IS true, even if you've done it.  Just take the information and think about how you might CHOOSE to use it (or not) going forward.  Education is good.
 
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Roper

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Re: Giving wrong examples?
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2019, 01:21:31 pm »
Many years ago, I was in a ward where the bishop gave a sacrament meeting talk about how to give good sacrament meeting talks. The talks improved for several months after that. Then they started to go back to the way they were. Maybe we all need training about every six months  :D
 
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cook

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Re: Giving wrong examples?
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2019, 03:57:38 am »
Dyany, I am sure what the writer writes is real where she has experienced it. I don't disagree with that. I read her implying it happens like that everywhere. That is one of the things I disagree with, the assumption that because it happens in X and Y it happens everywhere.

I do think we can sometimes see people "following a bad example". But I don't agree with the problem being the bad example, because in each case, like in this, there is also something good to be taken from it. In this case it could be that one who does not like to talk or want to talk does it anyway, when asked. If it happens that people have started joking about it, when so many do, there may be many reasons to it. I think the most common ones would be the desire to "be like everyone else" or "trying to be funny" (if you thought it was funny the first time you heard it) or "I have no idea what the point of a talk is so I just copy what I've heard others say".  I don't consider any of those as following a bad example.

My observation - very limited - is that in general, in the US mormon culture there is an aspect of "trying to be like everyone else" and keep up with the Jones's. Certainly I may be wrong.

I remember on my mission when the mission president talked how we shouldn't use the phrase "I know with every fiber of my being". I thought who on earth would say such a thing. Turns out many did, because a prophet or an apostle had at some point - I think quite a while ago - said so and people had started copying it. It's just not a thing in some other places, to try to say and do things someone else - in a position - have said or done.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2019, 02:45:57 pm by cook »
 
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Jason

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Re: Giving wrong examples?
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2019, 10:40:42 am »
Good morning brothers and sisters of Nineveh. When the bishop asked me to speak to you about repentance, I was very scared. So scared in fact that I pretended I had an upcoming vacation on a cruise ship. Little did I know that a storm would come, they would blame me and throw me overboard, and then I would then be swallowed by a whale for 3 days, giving me just enough time to think about how to talk to you about repentance.
 
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Taalcon

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Re: Giving wrong examples?
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2019, 10:48:38 am »
 Yeah, Jo, scared that the people that you're talking to would actually listen and repent and God would be more merciful than you felt they deserved.

And then as you leave the building, you'll have a tantrum about the heat.

Actually, now that I think about it, I think I HAVE heard this talk!  ;)
 
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