Thursday, March 16, 2006

Redeeming facet of boring meetings

Some things have been said about boring meetings lately--or, sometimes, the lack of testimony-touching words in our church meetings. I am right up there with those that bemoan this (common) problem. But I wonder if there are not little redeeming qualities even in mind-boggling, seat-numbing, completely zoned out meeting.

Patience and common courtesy.

I was at Girls' Camp three years ago when I realized this. After dinner one night, we had a fireside (literally!) meeting with the entire stake. The camp's "grandparents" (older couples from the stake) were the speakers, and the meeting lasted more than an hour. I will be the first to admit that it was a fairly dull meeting. Add to that the fact that we were all sitting on backless wooden benches, and you can see why it was hard to concentrate. Two of my young women in particular (both fifteen years old) were having a very difficult time keeping quiet. Finally, after I had moved over to sit by them, they asked if they could run up to the latrine. I gave them permission but told them to come right back.

Of course they didn't return right away. After more than ten minutes, I got up to find them. Our camp was in a remote area, and we were responsible to know where the girls were at all times. Fortunately, I didn't have to go far. They were trying to sneak out the back door of the latrine as I was coming in the front. I asked them to return to the fireside with me. One of the girls whined, "But it's SO boring, and we've been sitting there forever!" I had to agree that it had been a long meeting, but we needed to return anyway. The other girl muttered something like, "My mom would never make me stay in a boring meeting." I ignored this and persuaded them to return. (Of course, the closing song was being sung when we returned, which didn't help my mood any, because it seemed like they got what they wanted.)

I thought a lot about what the second girl had said, though. If it was true that her mother never made her stay though things that were boring, then that would explain a lot about her attitude about church and life in general. She seemed to go through life expecting everything to go her way--from camp chores to sitting through a thirty minute Mia Maid lesson at church. There was very little patience in her attitude. Maybe it was because she was rarely expected to do something unpleasant just because it needed to be done.

So maybe, even if meetings are boring, we are able to get something out of them anyway. Maybe our children are able to learn patience and courtesy by having to sit through boring, easy seminary/Sunday School/Primary meetings, even if they aren't learning the mysteries of the Gospel. Maybe that's good enough for now--we can always talk about Kolob in family home evening!


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  • I agree. It's unfortunate, but it is also reality. Some people plan an execute boring meetings. Hopefully we can all use these as growing and improving experiences. Great attitude here, thanks for sharing it.

    By Blogger Eric Nielson, at 3/16/2006 12:39 PM  

  • I don't think that people consciously think "Hey, i'm going to set up a boring meeting. That's the ticket!" I think that most people in the church (since they aren't professionaly event schedulers) are doing the best they can.

    I don't blame the girls for wanting to leave, but I too would imagine that she is a little spoiled. I think that, in many ways, many of our youth are spoiled when it comes to things like this. It's unfortuante when parents let their kids get away with that kind of thing.

    Perhaps boring meetings are part of God's plan? :-)

    By Blogger Unknown, at 3/16/2006 5:15 PM  

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