Choose the Wrong?

Have any of you ever found yourself saying something that you know will come back and bite you in the butt? This is me. A lot.  It happens to some of us extreme extroverts who don’t actually know what we think until we say it out loud. Ready, fire, aim.

This was me two weeks ago. I was recently put in Young Women’s and was teaching the lesson on Agency, or in other words, Choose the Right. I brought in my giant size pick-up sticks and had us play as the object lesson: you can grab whatever stick you want, but you can’t choose how it will affect the other sticks. But then I noticed that the game was taking forever. The girls were so afraid of moving another stick during their turn, thus getting “out,” that they deliberated for ages before doing anything.

I think this really is like life. Sometimes there is no obvious “right” to choose. To quote Miss Frizzle of the Magic School bus, sometimes you have to just “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy.”  We talked about this and it kind of freaked some of the young women out.  I cited the Garden of Eden as a case in point where Adam and Eve had mutually exclusive goals and quoted Eve’s beautiful testimony to them: “Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.”

That scripture is a wonderful illustration that sometimes it is through our errors that we learn and are blessed the most.  A new beehive raised her hand with a confused look on her face, “So what you’re saying is that we should sin on purpose?” My favorite laurel came to my defense, “No, Heather’s saying that sometimes it’s best to choose the wrong. Isn’t that right?”

All eyes on me and I picture them going home and answering that Sunday parent question, “So sweetie, what did you learn in church today?” “CTW!!!” “Sin rocks!” “Mistakes are a girl’s best friend.” But I remember being paralyzed by fear of wrong choice, thinking that avoiding sin was the same thing as living righteously, thinking that if I had to repent it meant I was failing. I want better for these girls. I want them to live boldly and know that mistakes aren’t the big issue, it’s what you DO about your mistakes that counts.

So I took a deep breath, and bore my testimony to these wonderful, good good girls that it really is okay to screw up. We finished the game of pick-up sticks and to my delight, they didn’t always try for the safest stick but took some chances and cheered each other on.  And to the credit of their parents, so far I haven’t gotten any concerned phone calls. My next lesson is on “The Sacred Power of Procreation.” Maybe I should make little book marks that say, “Sex is great! But it’s better to wait!”

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11 Responses

  1. Andrew S. says:

    Be sure to incorporate the Ms. Frizzle quote in that next lesson too, haha.

  2. kew says:

    Please, please make that bookmark. It would be so much better and healthier than any other chastity lesson.

  3. Deborah says:

    Those are lucky young women!

  4. Loved your lesson! What a perfect object lesson for how life really goes. Seriously, I hope you make the bookmarks. Maybe they’ll even start selling them at Deseret Book.

  5. Jessawhy says:

    This is a great example of a good YW’s lesson. Thanks for sharing it.
    If I ever (and probably never) get asked to teach YW, I will refer to this post.

    Thanks for sharing it.

    I know I was one of those girls who was afraid to make mistakes. I remember thinking that if I had to repent I was doing something wrong. I like how you explained this principle to the girls. I hope their parents are teaching them the same thing at home.

  6. Ardis says:

    It sounds like they need a good, solid lesson on the difference between making mistakes and sinning. They need to be brave enough to try what they have thought out and think is right (but that they may not yet be equipped to succeed at), while still shunning what they know to be sin. You don’t need to repent for failure; you only have to learn from it. Sin is something else entirely.

  7. Stephanie Marshall says:

    Uh, LOVE your photoshopped CTW ring. You are a master.

  8. Mansfield says:

    This is where the hours listening to General Conference come in handy. “Remember when President Monson said the Music Man is one of his favorite musicals, and he quoted Professor Harold Hill, “If you save up too many tomorrows, you’ll collect a lot of empty yesterdays,’ or something like that. In that musical that President Monson loves so much, Professor Hill also sang I great song, ‘The Sadder but Wiser Girl for Me.'”

  9. Mary says:

    I had a Seminary teacher start class one day saying this:

    “Sex is great!!!!”

    Then he stood there with this goofy grin on his face as we all took it in and went “huh!!?!!!”

    Then he said “When you’re married first!!!”

    It was a great way to get our attention—and also make the point. The rest of the lesson went into probably what you have to cover—but it is the first point he made that I basically remember the most 🙂

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