I have mentioned on several occasions before that I work with the twelve to eighteen-year-old girls at my church. I don’t think that I have ever really gone into the role that I play with them. Officially, I am the Personal Progress leader. To anyone who is not LDS (Mormon), that probably doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot. Heck, even for some people who are LDS it may not sound familiar.
Our church has a program to help our Young Women work on developing their spirituality and learn to set goals. It is called Personal Progress. It revolves around seven core values: Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good Works, and Integrity. During the six years that the girls are in the Young Women program, they are to complete six smallish goals in each value, then do a ten-hour project for each value. If they complete the entire program, they get a necklace to commemorate their accomplishment. My responsibility is to help these girls stay motivated and complete the program.
When I was in Young Women, the Personal Progress program was somewhat different, but it still existed. My mother was in charge of the entire Young Women organization for our congregation, and she really wanted/expected me to finish my Personal Progress. She pushed. She nagged. At times, she even threatened. She never figured out the fact that I hated doing anything that she had pushed/nagged/threatened me over because I didn’t want to encourage that type of “motivation” by allowing her to see that it worked. Nevertheless, I did finish the Personal Progress program. Kind of. I did all of my goals. I completed all of my projects. I never filled out the final paperwork and got my necklace. I just didn’t feel like I really deserved it since those final projects were done as a result of much, um, encouragement.
Now, as one of the Young Women leaders, I have the opportunity to complete the Personal Progress program (again, and officially). The leaders don’t have to do as much as the girls (we usually don’t stay in the organization for six years, after all). We have to do three of the smaller goals for each value and two ten-hour projects. I have already done one project. I’ve actually talked about it here–my Vietnam blankie project. I’ve decided to make my second project a regular part of this blog.
The actual goal I will be doing is to “Write original stories, poems, or songs, or complete a visual arts project that illustrates your faith in Jesus Christ.” Every Sunday, I plan on working on a written piece about faith. It may be examining a scripture or talk. It may be something else. Ultimately, I would like to put together a multiple-style piece on faith. Something similar to The Collected Works of Billy the Kid by Michael Ondaatje (except religious). I’ve always thought the way that book was compiled is exceptionally cool.
So, there you have it. If you aren’t interested in religious discussions, ignore me on Sundays. Seriously, if you aren’t religious and might be incline to post comments telling me that you think my beliefs are stupid, please just don’t read on Sundays. This is a topic that I really don’t want to argue about. Honest, open, and productive discussions, however, are absolutely welcome.