Sunday, March 16, 2008

take a principle out to lunch

Chieko wants us to stop fixing each other. Friday night I went to see Chieko Oksaki in Spokane for an LDS 'Time Out for Women'. She quote Joseph Smith because many inquired how he managed the saints and their booming cities on the wild west frontier. Joseph replied "I teach the people correct ‘principles’ and they ‘govern’ themselves." She humorously titled her talk 'Take a Principle Out to Lunch'.

Chieko brought up the Garden of Eden dilemma regarding the two 'good' trees, and said there are so many "principles" they often conflict as President Monson will attest. So we have no business 'governing' each other. Where do we get off on policing each other anyway? She point out the difference between teaching and preaching. There are real dilemmas in life, not so black and white. That is because a generous Heavenly Father gives us 'choices'. Our options and possibilities are endless, not hopeless.

She demonstrated how easy it is for sisters to afflict each other. There are a lot of misunderstandings, hurt feelings and social pressure in Relief Society. We are becoming a world-wide church but diversity scares us and we set out to fix, change and save people rather than listen, accept and love. She said if we feel uncomfortable or hurt then take a sister out to lunch. ‘Listen’ and share your stories as if this were the answer to world peace. This can reduce fear, fixing, fault finding, hurt feelings and misunderstanding. Fear leads to hate so take the time to 'listen' and learn something new about someone everyday. It's all about the individual, not numbers and quotas. "In principle great clarity, in practice great charity. I am much more concerned about how you feel about Jesus than anything else".

When Chieko was a kindergarten teacher she told her students "I have a principle. Unless someone is crying or bleeding I do not want to hear about it!" That may be how our church leaders feel. They cannot micro-manage us but teach principle and allow us to self-govern. She said "over there are two chairs. If you have a problem with someone sit down and take as long as you need to talk it out until you feel better." She said this actually helped eliminate tatelling, bullying, gossip, and relational aggression. They had to learn how to listen, communicate responsibly and govern themselves on the 'fighting bench'.

I went to this event with the question "how do we handle pressure, hurt feelings and 'unsolicited' criticism from our fellow saints?" Take them out to lunch? I actively seek council, self improvement and constructive criticism, but only by those who understand my circumstances and with whom I have developed a relationship of trust. Chieko encouraged us to ask our children what they are hearing from President Monson.


Dream Big said...

I read your post & it really made me think about the scripture in Matthew 7:3 where it talks about beholding the mote in another's eye but not seeing the beam in our own eyes. I think the post hits on something that complicates women's lives in our church, but something people don't seem to talk about a lot. I know I have been guilty of it & think that Sister Okazaki's idea about taking a sister "out to lunch" is a great idea. The post reminded me that it is better to get to know someone & learn about their "story" so we are not as quick to pass judgment.

As I am writing, I just reflected on visiting teaching & am sure that this program was inspired to help us women in this area of our lives.

LAHansen said...

This is another wonderful post. This really is an 'enrichment' blog. Thanks for these wonderful thoughts. I love the idea about taking a siser out to lunch too! In a way that's almost more helpful, for me, than thinking of walking a mile in someone elses shoes.

Lucy said...

I saw/heard S. Okazaki in Scottsdale as few months ago. What a blessing. She was so interesting and so funny and such a smart woman. I'd like to be all that she is.