The Good News about Sister Dalton’s Challenge

At Women’s Conference this year, Sister Elaine S. Dalton, the General YW President issued a challenge to the conference participants, which she also reiterated at a recent youth conference in my region.

“The first thing we want to ask you to do is pray every day—100%. (ok, good)
The second thing is to read the Book of Mormon every day for five minutes—100%(hmmm … are we setting the bar kind of low? But they are teenagers ….).
The third thing we want you to do is to smile”( Meh. I hate it when people tell me to smile)

Despite my own curmudgeonly initial reaction, I have observed the most fascinating response to this challenge, which has been among many of the young men I encounter. Since the youth conference, I have observed at least 5 teenaged boys discuss the effect that implementing these changes have made in their lives. They’ve taken the counsel seriously. They don’t think it doesn’t apply to them because a female leader of the auxiliary for teenaged girls issued it. They don’t call her Elaine. They seem to accept that she is an ecclesiastical leader who can give them counsel worthy of following.

I know that there are still plenty of ways that we can help our young men to accept women as their equals – I witnessed some in my own family recently which caused me to almost drive off the road, but I think this is a good news story. Perhaps the most gratifying thing has been to watch my own 14 year old son start to make his own individual attempts at personal religious worship in the wake of female leader’s talk.

Last week, as he was heading out to work on a pile of dirt that he is transforming into a bike jump, he reported:

“I’ve prayed and read my scriptures already today.”
“Yeah, but have you smiled?”, I teased.
“Mom,” he said seriously, poking his head back inside, “I’m smiling all over the place”.

Even a curmudgeonly mother can’t complain about that.

Comments

  1. sigh, sounds like advice this curmudgeonly mother should remember!

  2. cool story. thanks for sharing.

    I don’t underestimate the “smile” advice ever since a mission companion informed me that me relaxed face looks a bit like a scowl.

  3. Steve Evans says:

    It does.

  4. Steve, I’m relaxing my face in your direction!

  5. These comments have made me unrelax my face.

    Do you think it’s too lame for a grown up to take this tripart challenge?

  6. They’ve taken the counsel seriously. They don’t think it doesn’t apply to them because a female leader of the auxiliary for teenaged girls issued it. They don’t call her Elaine. They seem to accept that she is an ecclesiastical leader who can give them counsel worthy of following.

    Now, if we could only get the women to do the same.

    (Please imagine that I’ve created one of those annoying smiley-face emoticons so as to convey that I mean that comment in a humorous and non-confrontational way. Or, you know, whatever those little yellow bastards are supposed to mean.)

  7. Peter LLC says:

    Jimbob,

    You called? 8)

  8. jimbob,

    I think the creators of whatwomenknow.org object more to the content of Sister Beck’s talk. That being said, I think Margaret Toscano’s comment that noting that the public backlash against Pres. Beck “reflects the idea that it’s more acceptable to question women’s authority than men’s in the church” stands. We still have a long way to go.

  9. After watching Michelle Obama’s speech, my 5 year-old daughter decided she wants to be president and prophet. I’ve thought about it since and am not sure which is more likely.

    I’m holding off for a few years before discussing the finer points of separation of church and state.

    GO GABRIELA!

  10. It’s worth pointing out that it’s not just the creator’s of that site who think it’s more acceptable to criticize a woman–it’s not hard to imagine that a similar site arguing against Elder Ballard’s similar talk would have gotten people called into their bishops’ offices. As it is, it’s easy to dismiss as a catfight.

    Sigh.

  11. We got the 100% challenge at the MTC last Sunday from Sister Dalton as well. I really like her.

  12. Thanks for posting about this. It’s the first I’ve heard of it. I really like Sister Dalton too. She has the rare ability to pull out the essentials.

  13. Thanks Kristine — your comment makes me totally adore you and unbearably depressed all at the same time. :)

  14. Ha ha, what a great story. I especially liked your curmudgeonly reaction, cuz that’s probably something like what I would have thought.

  15. Funny thing, I’d never heard of this counsel before. Oh, wait. Nobody in our house is a Young Woman, and nobody special has come to any youth conferences around here (ours were all about removing dead pine beetle-infested trees, and taking Leaps of Faith from COPE courses).

    Thanks for alerting me to this good counsel. Now if only they would make such stuff public, y’know?

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