Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Here's a true story that never happened (another lesson before lying)

Truth: I'm a God-stalker
Truth: I wear my religion under my sleeve
Truth: I'm the R.S. President of 100 plus sistas
Lie: My sistas get 100% visiting teaching each and every month.

Sometimes a thing may happen and be a total lie. Other times a thing may not happen at all and be truer than the truth. --Tim O'Brien

So here's a true story that never happened. If you're a R.S. President or an aspiring R.S. President, this story is for you:

Last week I went to one of those semi-annual Mormon stake motivational seminar thingies. You know the ones where they tell you to put your shine on and turn your magnifying glass up an extra mile. After we split into auxiliaries the Stake R.S. Prez asked me how I get 100% on my visiting teaching report each month.

So I gathered the sistas around me and I shared 5 secrets:

First I told them the most important key to achieving 100% visiting teaching is to nurture the sisters. Nuture them with some old fashioned in-your-face psychological warfare. Keep on them. Don't let up. If you really want 100% then hard-core nurturing is required. But you have to really WANT it.

1. The Guilt Trip: The number one most effective nurturance strategy is the guilt trip. Tried and true, this strategy works wonders. For those of you unfamiliar with the guilt trip, it goes over well in large groups--group guilt--but group guilt can put your sistas on the defensive so one-on-one is most effective. Eye contact is important. Now and then sigh and glance down, but sustained eye contact will let your sista know you're serious and you're depending on her to keep the percentages up. Throw the word should around a LOT, and do some name-dropping--God works best, but prophet names are effective too.

2. Classic Reward and Punishment: There are always a few sistas who are immune to one-on-one guilt trips, so you may have to stoop to group guilt once in a while. Public humiliation, shame and fear are great motivators and should get the job done. When making announcements during R.S. give treats out to the districts with the highest percentage and mention the names of the lowest. Graphs, flow charts, power points, visual aids and cute crafty posters have a powerful impact, but only if the names of the good, the bad and the ugly are highlighted. If someone hasn't done their visiting teaching for over 6 months, don't be afraid to mention their names in lessons about service or love or responsibility or testimony. And while you're at it, mention the struggles of the sisters who they haven't visited. Making connections between inactives and truant visiting teachers also packs a powerful punch.

3. Trouble-Shooting: There will always be a few scragglers who resist being nurtured into fulfilling their calling from God. This is where the president comes in. A good R.S. Prez should always carry the VT message around with her in her purse. When you see any of the sistas in your ward, say at the grocery store, waiting in line at the library or at taco bell, you should promptly pull it out and deliver the message with sincerity and love. Don't forget the prayer, or it doesn't count. Oh, and don't forget to let her know that if she needs anything at all, you're there for her, unless it's inconvienent. When you finish, mark it off. It counts, baby!

4. Out-Reach: Now for the problem of inactives. Some sistas just don't want to be visited, but inactives need love too. If a sista is absent from R.S. more than 4 weeks, it's a good idea to call her during the R.S. announcements, hold the phone up and have everybody yell, "We miss you, sister________ (fill in the blank) Wish you were here! See you next week." Don't forget to include "see you next week." It plants a seed and an expectation at the same time. If a sister does't answer the phone, you may have to resort to what we call the group hug. We arrange to have all the sistas in R.S. walk to her house after church and knock on her door. When she answers we all, one by one, give her a hug to let her know we love her and are thinking about her. If she doesn't answer we sing "you are my sunshine" outside her house. Don't forget refreshments if you use this approach. Sistas are more inclined to participate in the group hug if there are brownies or cinnamon rolls involved.

5. Inflation: If there are still a few left-over sisters who don't get the message, rather than waste time making home visits yourself, the easiest thing to do is inflate the numbers. Notice I didn't say fudge the numbers. That would be lying. Inflation should only be implemented if you've already got at least 95%. A 5% inflation rate is not a big deal, so go ahead and report 100%. It's close enough and it helps let your ward's spiritual light so shine, like a beacon on a hill for others to see and emulate. Keep in mind that sometimes the end really does justify the means. And vice versa.

Happy Nurturing!


Jen said...

Thanks for the awesome tips. Our ward is splitting this week, so maybe I'll hand out some badges and campaign to be RS Prez. Every sister's dream come true!

Lisa (Funny Farmer) said...

Okay - because that whole post is so obnoxious, it is obvious that it is satire. However. It still makes me more than a little bit annoyed!

Does that mean I have a poor sense of humor?

Seriously--you started it all off with a disclaimer that it was a lie. Without the disclaimer though, there are people who are going to interpret it as serious--and I have actually seen one or two of those techniques used before!! (maybe that's why it annoys me--your lie comes too close to some truth I have experienced). Again - that was probably the whole point.

Gimme some feeback on this, will ya?

The Crash Test Dummy said...

You're totally right. When you're a Mormon, it's hard to complain outright, so when you feel frustrated, poking fun(satire)is an alternative.

I don't think it means you have a poor sense of humor, but that you have a solid sense of discernment. Good girl! (Percentages are a pet peeve of mine).

I have a few friends who don't like Seriously, So Blessed because they know too many people like that. But that's what makes it so funny to me.

Still friends?

Big Waves! And Jazz hands! And spirit fingers!

Lisa (Funny Farmer) said...


How could you think otherwise?

Okay - when I read "Seriously, So Blessed" I can never decide if she's being sarcastic or serious about how perfect her life is. And then I think, "NObody's life is that perfect -- she has got to be joking." Right?

Because above all, I wanna get the answer right, Teee-cher!


I think what happened on this post is I came here expecting to be entertained. Satire is funny until it hits close to home. At least for me. (Yeah - I'm a former RS pres. Worst 18 months of my life. Maybe I should write some lies with that material, eh?)

Brilliant writing by the way. I think perhaps my introspection came off as criticism of the piece, when in reality it was the skilled writing that pushed my buttons.

:toothy grin:

Jami said...

Two thumbs way, way up! Nicely done.

I think that the RS Prez who implements your ideas probably also sent TAMN an email asking her to speak as a special guest at their next enrichment meeting. And amazingly enough she also just became the only heir of a dead wealthy foreign dude. She really knows how to work those internet resources!

Kris said...

Thanks for the tips! As a RS Pres and Funny Farm SIL I need all the help I can get. VT is the plege of the whole RS pres life, at least mine. Just a huge jigsaw puzel with missing pieces. The missing VTS are on a diff list becuase VTing is not aways convient, so they would rather not.

I love the rest of the calling, and truely most of my sisters go way beyond the extra mile.

Thanks for the laughs