I work with the young women (girls ages 12-18) in my ward. (church group in our neighborhood) There are actually only 18 of them which is quite a small group. They are all beautiful and talented and lots of fun to be around. I have been doing this work acutally for 5 years now. I love it.
Lately, though, there has been something that has been driving me nuts about teenagers. It’s the “EVERYONE IS LOOKING AT ME!” phase. I am sure that all teenagers, even boys, go through this to some degree or another. They are all so paranoid that someone is looking at them all the time. They can’t stand in front of a group of people with out feeling self conscience, uncomfortable and awkward. Many of them even forget completely what they were going to say. And hurry to sit down. Or worse…
Once when I was a teenager, about 14 probably, one young man, about my age, got up to give a talk in front of the ward. Only about 50 people were there. He got about 2 sentences into his talk and froze. He couldn’t speak, he couldn’t move. He just stood there looking horrified. All the sudden, just as the people sitting behind him began to get concerned and began to move to stand up to tell him “It’s okay, we’ll try another time.” He fell over. KERPLOP! Right on the floor in front of everyone. He was fine. Just a short faint that he woke right up from. But I remember being amazed at his incredible stage fright.
I guess fear of people and their judgments of us is very common. And very understandable. For heaven sakes, even adults get stage fright. We all may fumble for the right words and feel self conscience in front of a group. So I guess that’s human nature to want to put your best foot forward.
However, it’s this same group of girls — that would rather eat worms than have someone look at them– are the exact same girls that are constantly vying for attention over any given matter. If it’s about boys it’s a competition about who has more boyfriends. If it’s in FRONT of the boys. They are all talking over each other to get the boy’s attention. If it’s about grades, they vie for who made the best grades. If it’s about friends it’s about who has the most friends, is the most popular, or has the closest friends. If it’s during a lesson it’s the greatest thing to be chosen to read for the teacher, to stand up and write on the chalkboard, or to be the focus of a game to play. I am amazed at human nature. We all want to be noticed, loved, appreciated and special, but yet no one wants to step up, lead out, speak alone, or be focused on. Why is that?
I originally didn’t intend to turn this political, but ’tis the season. I guess that is why (and this is unbiased by WhiteEyebrows opinion of him) I like Mitt Romney so much. He is not afraid to put himself out there and say I am willing to put myself in the public eye, be derided because of my past, present and future. Be ripped apart because of my religion. And he’s willing to say I want to be in office for the common good. Politics is like that. I had someone say to me not long ago that they didn’t want Romney to run or win becasue they were worried about what people will say about the church. They were worried about having to hear their religion bashed. I recount with this…
I read in the BYU magazine a couple of months ago related to this. It was talking about being politically active. The article was saying that we shouldn’t be scared to pick someone for office. Too many people and members of the church take the “official church position” (including my husband to some degree) to not take a side. They figure since no one’s perfect and it would just be picking between the “lesser of 2 evils” then they shouldn’t get behind a candidate at all. Perhaps, not even vote. The article pointed out that SOMEONE has to fill the spot. And SOMEONE is going to win the election so we shouldn’t be afraid to be involved and be active in seeking out and even promoting or campaign actively for the best choice. If we are AFRAID of what people will say about our religion then maybe we don’t know enough about it, or believe it enough. We need to step up, step out of our comfort zone, and ‘let our light shine’ . We must not be afraid of what others will think or say, as long as we are right with ourselves and our value system we can stand, lead, and be confident. And stop worrying that everyone is looking at us!