Each week, Hannah and Asriel will discuss the Young Women’s and Young Men’s lessons for the coming week from a feminist perspective. This week is lesson 49.
The Young Women
By Hannah Wheelwright
I can imagine a lot of great Young Women’s teachers making this lesson really powerful and helpful for young women in their class. It contains several references to young women being presidents of clubs or other organizations and captains of sports teams, and I consider these references beneficial even though they are infrequent. Additionally, delegating responsibilities is generally a good principle. However, I can also see how this lesson might fall short; the numerous statements of how important the principle of delegation is because it is how God and Jesus Christ operate strike me as incongruent in a lesson for the young women. The lesson itself defines delegation as “shar[ing] our work or responsibilities with others and giv[ing] them authority to act for us,” and I don’t know about you, but that sounds like basically every definition of priesthood I’ve ever heard. It’s a roundabout way of explaining that God and Christ delegate through the priesthood, which the young women do not hold, and thus the application is missing in this young women’s lesson.
I thought the beginning activity in the lesson was particularly asinine. It tells the teacher to have the young women close their eyes for a thought activity. They are then supposed to imagine a sports team with a captain that assigns positions and coordinates plays that the team then executes in unison, and then to imagine a sports team where the captain insists on creating and executing all the plays herself, thus hampering the success of the team. Then the young women open their eyes and share their feelings about each scenario. The icing on the cake of this exercise for me is having the young women close their eyes to do it. It seems to me like just another childish and unstimulating exercise.
Overall, I was a little confused; the only scriptural or church leader quotes in the lesson was a brief exercise of looking up how the Savior delegated responsibilities. The rest of the lesson consisted of general stories and some roleplays for the young women to act out. Again, I can see how a good teacher could supplement the manual and make this a great spiritual experience, but I just don’t see how acting out telling people how to do tasks really brings young women closer to Christ.
Because Lesson 49: Using Time Wisely has the same title and is nearly identical to Lesson 44 in the Young Women’s manual, I figured I would focus on identifying any significant differences I noticed between the lessons. The first difference is in the objective of the lesson. The Young Men have:
“Each young man will understand the importance and benefits of using time wisely and will learn how to organize his time to use it productively.”
The Young Women have:
“Each young woman will understand the importance and benefits of using time wisely.”
Both lessons begin with visuals involving timepieces. The young men have a poster of a clock on the board while they independently study a passage in Alma about the temporal nature of mortality. The young women’s object lesson involves them sitting in silence watching a one-minute egg-timer run out. The young men then discuss time’s role in preparing to meet God, and the manual includes a suggestion that fun and recreation can be legitimate uses of time. The young women’s discussion of the minute of silence focuses on the importance of never wasting time.
Both lessons use Ecclesiastes 3 to demonstrate the principle that all things have a time and place, but the Young Men’s lesson discussion has a subsection on that passage, and the Young Women’s lesson presents that passage within a list of several other passages that have fill-in-the-blanks the Young Women fill in to demonstrate that they were able to read what the scriptures said. Neither lesson has any other scripture references—only quotes and hypothetical stories—for the rest of the entire lesson. So, the Young Men’s lesson uses two scriptures discussed, but discussed in-depth, while the Young Women’s lesson uses four scriptures, but hardly has any discussion of those passages beyond filling in blanks.
Even the object lesson about priorities is slightly different for the two lessons. For instance, the Young Men’s lesson shows first the problem with adding the sand before the bigger rocks. Also, the Young Men’s lesson does not include adding water after the container already seems full to the brim with rocks and sand. I’m not sure if there is a theoretical reason for the differences in what is mostly the same object lesson.
Both lessons have a section titled “Effective Use of Time Brings Spiritual and Temporal Blessings.” The Young Men’s lesson has a story about a man writing a letter to a scoutmaster that was influential in his life. The Young Women’s lesson has a list of reasons why people sometimes waste time, and provides three specific “case studies” of how a few young women have managed their time and asks the Young Women to critique each one. The Young Men’s lesson tells little about the details of how the scoutmaster managed his time, only the positive outcome of him putting effort into his calling as scoutmaster.
Asriel: I’m really looking forward to our upcoming discussions of the new curriculum for the youth. I hope all of the readers are sitting on as many pins and needles as I am.