YW and free babysitting

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Joni
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YW and free babysitting

Post by Joni » 08 Aug 2018, 07:26

On more than one occasion, the YW in our ward have been pressured into providing free babysitting so that members can attend the temple. In fact, on one occasion an adult man in the church announced from the pulpit that the YW were happy to provide this service. (He did not consult with the YW beforehand; at least, he didn't consult with mine.) It's only ever the young women who are given this message, not the young men, even though there are a lot of teenage boys in the world who are capable of and enjoy being around younger children. (My brothers were such boys and my son is one as well.)

I have a fifteen year old daughter who ADORES babies and children, and they generally adore her back. (She has taken two semesters of Child Development as high school electives, and when she's a junior she actually gets to work in a local day care and receive both school credit and pay.) She babysits a lot for people in our neighborhood, and they generally compensate her well.

Why does it so much rub me the wrong way to think that someone would be entitled to her services for free just because they are going to the temple? (As I always say when the 'Hastening the Work' guilt trips are bandied about, what's the hurry? The dead aren't getting any deader.) Why is attending the temple seen as more deserving than, say, the parents of small children taking a much needed date night? (I'm not counting the temple as a date night because that is literally the worst date night ever LOL.) Is this just something that the leaders think would be nice, or is it symptomatic of a larger inability to see the time and effort of girls and women as having inherent financial worth?

Does anyone else's ward do this? My daughter told me that the last time they sent the clipboard around, she just ignored it.

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dande48
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Re: YW and free babysitting

Post by dande48 » 08 Aug 2018, 07:53

Joni wrote:
08 Aug 2018, 07:26
On more than one occasion, the YW in our ward have been pressured into providing free babysitting so that members can attend the temple. In fact, on one occasion an adult man in the church announced from the pulpit that the YW were happy to provide this service. (He did not consult with the YW beforehand; at least, he didn't consult with mine.) It's only ever the young women who are given this message, not the young men, even though there are a lot of teenage boys in the world who are capable of and enjoy being around younger children. (My brothers were such boys and my son is one as well.)
My mother was a big fan of this approach. She would often volunteer me for hard manual labor, saying I was happy to help for free. As far as the young men not getting "volunteered" for babysitting... well, people these days often don't trust males to be alone with females or any group of young children, out of fear of sexual/physical abuse. Recently, they equalized the rules between genders, but I remember teaching primary a number of years ago (10-11 year old boys), and I had to both have another male co-teacher, and leave the door cracked. Women were allowed to teach solo.

I think there is a general expectation that members should help and serve one another, as needed, without financial compensation. Because of the massive urgency and importance of temple work (according to the Church), babysitting the children for free enables the couple to serve others, without being financially constrained. I know that feeling... finances are tight, and hiring a babysitter is expensive. I'm sure the financial cost of hiring a babysitter prevents more than a few from attending as often as they would otherwise.

I HATE when anyone, including the Church (and my mother), conscripts others into service. But I understand that sometimes, people need to do things they really don't want to do (such as doing the dishes or mowing the lawn). Someone has to do it.
Joni wrote:
08 Aug 2018, 07:26
Why does it so much rub me the wrong way to think that someone would be entitled to her services for free just because they are going to the temple?
This is probably a hypothetical question, but I'm going to answer it anyways. :smile: Your views on the importance of the temple work are very different from the views of Church leadership and most active members. Free babysitting leads to greater temple attendance. That's their goal. That's what they feel should be a primary goal of all Church membership, and feel all member's actions should be towards fulfilling that goal. Money is a means to an end, nothing more.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

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Joni
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Re: YW and free babysitting

Post by Joni » 08 Aug 2018, 08:08

As far as the young men not getting "volunteered" for babysitting... well, people these days often don't trust males to be alone with females or any group of young children, out of fear of sexual/physical abuse
This is true - but it's also a result of the idea that nurturing children is women's work. Just look at the FamProc: men preside, women nurture. Look at all the YW lessons about preparing to be a mother, and then find me the equivalent YM lessons about preparing to be a father; I don't think there are any! We do the males of the church a huge disservice by telling them that their gender isn't the nurturing one. And that's how you get Mormons like my father-in-law who had six children and proudly never changed a single diaper. Gender essentialism SUCKS.

Anyway, back to my initial point: maybe the answer isn't conscripting the YW to free labor. Maybe the answer is telling the parents (especially mothers) of young children not to feel guilty if they can't get to the temple as often as Sister Empty Nester. There will still be plenty of dead people to be redeemed once your kids can fend for themselves.

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dande48
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Re: YW and free babysitting

Post by dande48 » 08 Aug 2018, 08:59

But do you think, all else being equal, many people would choose a male babysitter over a female? There are certain occupations where females have a strong preference over males... nurses/healthcare workers, school teachers, masseuses, pharmaceutical sales reps, flight attendants... most people, both male and female, would rather be nurtured by a female than a male. It starts with our mothers, who carried us around in the womb for 9 months, and then breastfed us for +/- a year after. It's necessary for the survival of our species, that women evolved nurturing characteristics, both psychological and physiological. I fully agree we gender essentialism in a species with such a large population doesn't make much sense. But I don't think there is anything wrong with acknowledging sexual differentiation in humans, or people playing to their natural evolutionary traits.
Joni wrote:
08 Aug 2018, 08:08
Look at all the YW lessons about preparing to be a mother, and then find me the equivalent YM lessons about preparing to be a father; I don't think there are any!
Turns out this month is the "Marriage and Family" month in the YM manual, including the lesson "How can I prepare now to become a righteous husband and father?".
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

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Joni
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Re: YW and free babysitting

Post by Joni » 08 Aug 2018, 10:23

But do you think, all else being equal, many people would choose a male babysitter over a female? There are certain occupations where females have a strong preference over males... nurses/healthcare workers, school teachers, masseuses, pharmaceutical sales reps, flight attendants... most people, both male and female, would rather be nurtured by a female than a male.
That may be true - but female nurses, massage therapists, etc deserve to be compensated for their time even if they ARE more naturally nurturing. I don't think I've EVER heard someone stand up in sacrament meeting and volunteer the YM to perform free labor for members of the ward, regardless of what that labor is.
Turns out this month is the "Marriage and Family" month in the YM manual, including the lesson "How can I prepare now to become a righteous husband and father?".
That's good to hear. We're also doing a better job at preparing young women to think about future education and career. I'm still not comfortable with the level of gender essential in the church but it's getting better.

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Re: YW and free babysitting

Post by AmyJ » 08 Aug 2018, 10:29

dande48 wrote:
08 Aug 2018, 08:59
Turns out this month is the "Marriage and Family" month in the YM manual, including the lesson "How can I prepare now to become a righteous husband and father?".
Here is what I would teach if I was asked to teach the youth (which is why they haven't asked me to teach yet):
1. Counsel with your spouse (for family level decisions) and children (one-on-one as age and maturity permit).
2. Apologize and make amends for when you say/do something hurtful -- communicate!
3. Emotional Labor - what it is and how to work together to get done everything that needs to get done.
4. Work Hard and Work Smart both in and out of the home.

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dande48
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Re: YW and free babysitting

Post by dande48 » 08 Aug 2018, 10:51

Joni wrote:
08 Aug 2018, 10:23
That may be true - but female nurses, massage therapists, etc deserve to be compensated for their time even if they ARE more naturally nurturing. I don't think I've EVER heard someone stand up in sacrament meeting and volunteer the YM to perform free labor for members of the ward, regardless of what that labor is.
Lol, it happens ALL THE TIME in priesthood meeting. I'm sad to hear it happened over the pulpit in sacrament meeting tho.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
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Holy Cow
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Re: YW and free babysitting

Post by Holy Cow » 08 Aug 2018, 12:15

dande48 wrote:
08 Aug 2018, 10:51
Joni wrote:
08 Aug 2018, 10:23
That may be true - but female nurses, massage therapists, etc deserve to be compensated for their time even if they ARE more naturally nurturing. I don't think I've EVER heard someone stand up in sacrament meeting and volunteer the YM to perform free labor for members of the ward, regardless of what that labor is.
Lol, it happens ALL THE TIME in priesthood meeting. I'm sad to hear it happened over the pulpit in sacrament meeting tho.
True. The YM in our ward are expected to set up chairs for sacrament meeting each week, EQ is expected to help with moves. I think service is a good thing, but the conscription method bothers me, regardless of which gender is being conscripted.
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Curt Sunshine
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Re: YW and free babysitting

Post by Curt Sunshine » 08 Aug 2018, 15:13

I am 100% in favor of free babysitting by the YW *and* YM, occasionally, for special purposes. Any legitimate service is good, if it is not habitualized, discriminatory, or forced.

Outside those parameters, I am not in favor of most free services based on membership only, except in some situations that require help, one-time or on-going, due to disability and/or poverty. Sometimes, helping the needy only can happen in uncomfortable, difficult, or never-ending ways.

Our YM get volunteered constantly for manual labor sort of stuff. Over-the-pulpit requests in Sacrament Meeting? Nope. Not the time, unless it has been arranged beforehand as part of a specific activity.
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hawkgrrrl
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Re: YW and free babysitting

Post by hawkgrrrl » 10 Aug 2018, 16:58

Back to the "women are more nurturing" business that leads them into fields that are routinely undercompensated financially--that's social conditioning. Nobody's suggesting that men be asked to breastfeed or give birth. Once you set those two things aside, the biological differences are a matter of social programming. Go back 200 years, and women from the gentry class weren't expected to raise their own children, nor did they want to! They often sent their kids off to others to raise, then brought them back when they were older.

As for offering free labor from the YW or the YM (and I have seen the YM conscripted for yard work), the issue I see is that they have to be willing to do it. There's value in volunteering, but I'm not a big fan of being voluntold. Some families will abuse that and will expect all sorts of freebies. There was a wealthy couple in our ward who demanded a bunch of free labor for their yard so they could sell their house. Why would that be the responsibility of the ward? They can certainly afford to pay professionals. Why do we routinely expect our members to do for free what many low-paid workers would gladly do for a fair price??

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