Monday, October 27, 2008

Viva la difference!!!!!

You have to love the difference between how teenage boys and teenage girls think… or perhaps it’s the difference between how teenage boy leaders and teenage girl leaders think and direct (LOL!).

In my role as Scoutmaster for my Church’s Boy Scout Troop, I am effectively a “spare wheel” when it come to leadership regarding our Young Men. This has been a standard procedure in our Ward for many years; the Scoutmaster, any assistant Scoutmaster’s and Venturing Advisors are adjuncts to the young men’s organization and spend the third (Priesthood) block with the Young Men in their classes. This is a long way of explaining why I was teaching a lesson on Sunday about “choosing attributes in your future Eternal Companion” to the teenage boys in our church.

This is one of those classic lessons where you want to get across the idea that there are many important things to consider when you are going to be choosing a mate for time and all eternity. Hey, it’s a big deal! Sometimes, I get the feeling that boys aren’t really thinking about those things (OK, unfair comparison here because, at their age, I totally was thinking about those things, probably way too soon than was healthy, so I have to bust myself on that one and move on :) ).

Part of this lesson had us writing on the whiteboard the attributes that we wanted to have. Needless to say, the first half dozen attributes were all physical ones (well, at least the physical ones any teenage boy would outwardly express in a Priesthood class; let’s just say that many of them didn’t make it on the board (LOL!). We determined the following from a smattering of responses:

Blonde/Brunette/Redhead/Black hair (there was no consensus, and there was some love for all of the choices :) )
Not too EMO (that was from my son, who apparently doesn’t want any additional competition in the EMO department (have I mentioned my son is twelve (LOL!) )
Enjoys sports
Strong Testimony
Likes children

And so on. To their credit, having a testimony and being active in the church was important, but from the vantage point of this discussion, it was sort of an “oh yea, and that” by comparison.

I found out later that day while we were attending the baptism of one of Christina’s primary children that the Young Women had the same lesson. I walked into their classroom and there, on the board, were their answers to the same questions. Here’s what they wrote down:

Returned Missionary
Strong Testimony
Active in Church
Honors his Priesthood
Good Provider
Wants children (notice the subtle difference there :) )
Not too short

Now, to be 100% objective, I did not sit in the Young Women’s class, and I did not see what may have gone on before hand as to how they polled for the responses, but I cannot help but notice that the weight of the answers was the inverse to the Young Men answers. The Young Women started out their list with strong spiritual aspects and attributes, and then ended with a couple of “Oh yeah, cute, well built and tall would be nice”. It’s entirely possible that the Young Women’s leaders wanted to have them emphasize the spiritual aspects before even mentioning the physical aspects… or again, it’s just a real manifestation of the difference between how the Young Men and Young Women think…

Thus, as a service to my Young Men’s quorums, use the list and cultivate the areas the Young Women really care about. It will be to your benefit. To the Young Women… now you know how our Young Men really think… are any of you surprised (LOL!)? Still, please be patient with them; they are young, they are naïve, and in many cases they may be just as nervous to say what they really think as anyone else. I do have faith that they will grow up, they will mature, they will ultimately serve missions, and I’ll dare say the lion’s share of them will return with the attributes you are after. At that point, I highly recommend using kind words and a strong net :).