Keeping up the enthusiasm -- how to counteract the grind?

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SilentDawning
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Keeping up the enthusiasm -- how to counteract the grind?

Post by SilentDawning » 11 Jan 2018, 08:22

Well, I succumbed to mediocrity in January.

As you know, I have a little calling as a teacher's council facilitator. Very suitable for me, not very demanding -- doesn't pit me against church orthodoxy. A good way to stay involved. It's had some impact, although like most initiatives, normally has some success with the willing while the unwilling tend to march on in their customary path (myself included on my own issues).

This month I just dropped the ball. Didnt' communicate, didn't show up, didn't do my part.

Tempering excessive self-loathing over this was the fact I was sick through the period, at one point losing consciousness due to bronchitis, so there were some mitigating factors. As well as a wedding reception that kept me busy and relatives in town I never see. But I didn't do anything, not even telling everyone I was cancelling the teacher's council for that Sunday due to illness.

Influencing my thinking was the mediocrity paradox. For some reason I find it discouraging that the church seems to exact excellence/commitment from us in paying huge sums of money, but then I see mediocrity like I am not used to seeing in other contexts in our overall Sunday operations. You know -- the long, boring meetings, unprepared teachers, ineffective lessons, the same thing day in and day out, one-way communication, a lot of the same programs beat to death, and slow change.

Also, I had bribed a priesthood leader to attend the teachers council meetings by promising 100% home teaching. He comes, but he goes back to his quorum and does his lessons the same old way, with no integration of even basic principles of teaching effectiveness to which he is exposed. In the first five minutes you're pulling out your phone or Kindle for stimulation....I didn't do any home teaching in December since I subconsciously was blowing off the teachers council, so I didn't feel justified in expecting him in attendance either. Plus his attendance doesn't seem to be having any impact on his quorum anyway.

And of course, our new Sunday School president doesn't think supporting the teachers' council is a big priority. I see him at church and he never even talks to me about it, and our meeting one on one about it didn't go very well.

So, how do you ride out the grind? How do you keep enthusiasm in the face of set backs, the drag of mediocrity, lack of leadership support, and general tiredness with the same calling indefinitely? What is your own antidote for personal mediocrity? I know some of you will indicate you can't motivate another person, and therefore have nothing to contribute -- so you don't have to share that fact -- I get it.

But those of you who have ideas for revitalizing commitment to a calling that has gotten sort of dry, feel free to share...
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

Roy
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Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Keeping up the enthusiasm -- how to counteract the grind?

Post by Roy » 11 Jan 2018, 11:16

I would just look at it as paying dues of your time.

Having a calling is something that is expected to be considered active or semi-active.

I currently serve as the cub scout bear den leader with DW. The program is mediocre with little communication or support. If a child attends nominally and puts forward any effort at all they will receive their "bear" badge. It kinda feels like a rubber stamp just going through the motions and passing the boys through the system (some boys are very interested, others are not, all will advance). DW and I are a good team. We include an instructional element, a hands on learning experience, and a game. It is a good fit for us. I can have a calling and participate while working and missing church most sundays. DW and I are present in the building for my son and daughter if they need us in their respective Wednesday night activities. And if we did not have this calling - we would most likely be pressured into another that we might like less.

I am very much aware that if I wanted to change the mediocrity in the scouting program in my 3 ward area it would be very frustrating and time consuming. DW served on the scouting committee and ended up being the main point of contact and doing almost everything because she does not have a personality to just let things go undone. She burned out and we had to ask for her to be released. Our current calling is much more specific and compartmentalized.

I am paying membership dues on my time and it amounts to about 2 hours each week.

That is sustainable for me.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

AmyJ
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Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: Keeping up the enthusiasm -- how to counteract the grind?

Post by AmyJ » 11 Jan 2018, 12:44

I don't know yet...

My husband is the executive secretary for the branch. Theoretically he will know when my name is coming up for a calling before I do (which bugs me - but I understand from a leadership standpoint sort of). He says that if spouses of leadership names come up for callings, they (the spouse in leadership) are asked to "sound out" the spouse on the calling.

I am currently calling-less <crossing fingers> in our small branch of about 75 people. I made sure the branch president knew I was in the pathways program and supporting my family in their "callings" as executive secretary/elder, primary attender/Achievement Day girl, and toddler/Nursery Attendee.

I have been asked to teach R.S. (which I love) some lessons periodically - I am cool with that.
My daughter is 16 months, and was "invited" into nursery early to bring our nursery count up to 3 (with our newest family move-in). I played nursery leader for 2nd and 3rd hour last week and expect that my name is on the short list for nursery leader.

I have been giving some thought to what I would say if I was issued a calling right now.

So far I am thinking I will say "No" to all callings because I don't want to feel like I am letting anyone down and I HATE dealing with arranging subs. We go weeks with missing church, and then weeks of making church depending on physical and mental health.
  • I will tell the Primary President that if I am there at church that I will sub in for Nursery unless a) I am teaching [then I will let her know ahead of time] or b) I single her out on the way out the door of church.
  • I will tell the R.S. President "Yes" to specific lessons, but "No" to being an official teacher for that same reason.
  • I might volunteer to teach a Sunday School lesson to see if the teenagers are as scary as I think they are.
I know I am going against the grain issuing a "No". I can hear the complaints already from those who said "Yes" to callings. I will counter the complaints with I HATE letting people down and life is pretty uncertain right now. I know helping out is important, and I can give back to the branch - not a problem on the terms listed above. I believe that God will bless the experiences I have as I serve others without an official calling just as much as if I had an official calling.

I have told my husband this. He was not happy about it. I told him to tell anyone who asked about callings to talk to me and shift the "blame" back to me. He was still not happy about it and baffled about something (I don't know what it is though).

I checked, and I don't need a church endorsement for Pathways program. My temple recommend is good for another year. I don't think that I will get into technical trouble for this stance (spending social currency, yes, but not actual trouble). It is a calculated risk that my leadership will accept my actual service without the lip service without raising a huge fuss. And when the inevitable happens, I may give a provisional "Yes".

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SilentDawning
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Re: Keeping up the enthusiasm -- how to counteract the grind?

Post by SilentDawning » 11 Jan 2018, 14:01

Roy wrote:
11 Jan 2018, 11:16
I would just look at it as paying dues of your time.
I think that's it. It provides political veneer. I can tell my daughter I am contributing in positive ways and my wife can see me active. It is not very taxing and justifies my son being involved and using church resources on a limited basis (attending activities now and then).

There is SOME progress -- a couple of the more intelligent couples get a really good kick out of the experience and look forward to it. As a former Bishop said, there is a lot of non-progress littered with flashes of light in church service.

I have to remind myself that the alternatives aren't that great in terms of other callings. And being callingless has its own problems.

At least I've successfully navigated a temple wedding without a TR. The dust is fully settled, it is over, and there is no immediate fall out that I can see. My family relationships are roughly intact after it being over as far as I can tell. Although my wife did express some angst I wasn't there the day after the wedding. She had a let down after my daughter was married since she'll be far away now and there is this sense of having lost her to the other family, which is close by.

I also think my aging has something to do with it. I'm ready to just not work and flit from thing to thing all day that I feel like doing...the drive in general is gone, perhaps from being sick recently.

I am thinking of just handling the teachers council all by announcements and not doing the grunt work of an up to date email list anymore, which is tedious. Lowering my expectations of who attends, and just do it so the leadership can check a box. Next month I'll have a brainstorming session on how we could use alternate methods (rather than simply lecture and discussion) to deliver upcoming lessons. Have some more plants at the tables (experienced teachers) to guide thinking and give ideas. Just take it one month at a time.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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Heber13
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Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

Re: Keeping up the enthusiasm -- how to counteract the grind?

Post by Heber13 » 11 Jan 2018, 15:18

SilentDawning wrote:
11 Jan 2018, 08:22
But those of you who have ideas for revitalizing commitment to a calling that has gotten sort of dry, feel free to share...
My idea is to stop doing it when i don't want to. I try that for a while....and see if it helps me feel happier or at ease...or if I feel bad or bored or lack some fulfillment or spirituality...which is the motivation to do it again.

If not...then follow my heart on what I do or don't do. It's a volunteer thing. Only do what you feel is best for your spirit.

When bored...do something new or take a break. Pay attention and follow what your heart is telling you. Trust yourself you can decide for yourself what to do or not. Just let go of guilt for not doing more than you can. You're in control and get to choose...the church is there with or without you...you get to choose to be apart of it or not.

That's the best idea I have. Not much of an answer.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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SilentDawning
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Re: Keeping up the enthusiasm -- how to counteract the grind?

Post by SilentDawning » 11 Jan 2018, 17:18

Heber13 wrote:
11 Jan 2018, 15:18
SilentDawning wrote:
11 Jan 2018, 08:22
But those of you who have ideas for revitalizing commitment to a calling that has gotten sort of dry, feel free to share...
My idea is to stop doing it when i don't want to. I try that for a while....and see if it helps me feel happier or at ease...or if I feel bad or bored or lack some fulfillment or spirituality...which is the motivation to do it again.

If not...then follow my heart on what I do or don't do. It's a volunteer thing. Only do what you feel is best for your spirit.

When bored...do something new or take a break. Pay attention and follow what your heart is telling you. Trust yourself you can decide for yourself what to do or not. Just let go of guilt for not doing more than you can. You're in control and get to choose...the church is there with or without you...you get to choose to be apart of it or not.

That's the best idea I have. Not much of an answer.
No, it's a good answer. It's kind of what I did in January (now) but I feel kind of guilty about it. It's not in my nature to be irresponsible, especially when I like to see excellence and often complain about it in the church. But taking a break, while in the calling is not something I can sustain, with conscience over time.

Just posting here helps. It's tough to be unorthodox and only partly committed when there are challenges to self-discipline. But I still wouldn't go back to the orthodox way I was previously.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

Roy
Posts: 4889
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Keeping up the enthusiasm -- how to counteract the grind?

Post by Roy » 14 Jan 2018, 14:13

I agree with taking a break or hiatus now and then. For example, I think that you could justify taking December and January off due to holidays and people being busy with travel and visiting family. Just send out an email saying that the class is cancelled because of these reasons and will resume on [fill in blank] date in February. Maybe put a note on the door for those that forget to check the email. My $0.02
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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SilentDawning
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Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: Keeping up the enthusiasm -- how to counteract the grind?

Post by SilentDawning » 15 Jan 2018, 08:43

Roy wrote:
14 Jan 2018, 14:13
I agree with taking a break or hiatus now and then. For example, I think that you could justify taking December and January off due to holidays and people being busy with travel and visiting family. Just send out an email saying that the class is cancelled because of these reasons and will resume on [fill in blank] date in February. Maybe put a note on the door for those that forget to check the email. My $0.02
I did that as a sin of omission in January. I decided that in February I'll hold a workshop on how to use different styles of teaching (groups, panel discussions, games, skits, video). Everyone will pull up an upcoming lessons. In groups, everyone will brainstorm means of teaching those lessons other than straight lecture and discussion. This is after we review the former alternate methods we had an experienced teacher share with us in a previous month. A feel some interest in that as it's a bit of a pet peeve of mine that you get the same hamburger day in day out at McMormonville.

And I'll have to continue to insulate myself against he lack of support from the Ward council and Sunday School presidency in what I'm doing. Since the HPGL isn't taking any of the concepts and integrating them in his own class, I am also considering dropping back on the home teaching. I have been doing 100% since September of August, with the except of December when I did nothing. I''ll do some in January so the guy comes in February. I cant' very well bribe the guy to integrate stuff in his classes as it seems a bit over aggressive to me...at some point you have to let people choose right? Or should I offer to do 100% with an additional family if I can see evidence that the techniques we describe in class are actually being used in the HPGL classroom. It just strikes me as a bit overaggressive and implicitly disaffirming about what the guy is currently doing.

Another alternative is to open each teachers' council with a kind of return and report about the extent to which people are using the techniques we discuss in our councils. I have one couple who takes it to heart and I may have them do a report....just to show people the council ideas are feasible.....thoughts? i get motivated when I see things actually change as a result of my efforts.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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