Sign-Up Sheets

Back in the old days, I imagine women attended meetings, announced a project to work on, and everyone committed to it, or raised their hands to volunteer. Everyone dug in to make the project work, helped where they could, and ultimately it began running itself, so the women were free to begin working on another project, and the procedure began all over again.

Back in those old days, women made everything from scratch; bread, clothes, household items. They didn’t have a whole lot of time on their hands. Yet, their projects were large, demanding and served the community: making clothing for the Indians, educating doctors and housing them in a functioning hospital building, building Relief Society Halls and operating a Commission store on the main floor, gleaning wheat from fields, later planting and harvesting their own wheat fields and selling it on the open market, making bandages and helping the war effort along with the Red Cross. You get the idea: these were major projects, not little entertaining get togethers.

Fast forward a century or so and we now have sign-up sheets.

We, as a Relief Society, do not accomplish what our earlier sisters accomplished; no where near. The entertainment world has crossed all boundaries and runs our very lives. We respond only when the activity is “GOING TO BE A BLAST!” and has “LOT’S OF CHOCOLATE!” Even then, we don’t feel bound when that sign-up sheet rolls around. We’ll sign up and still decide not to show up. What is this telling us?

Many of you have folders that go around. They typically end up with old material in them, and are never updated, or used efficiently. Other organizations will bring their sign-up sheets at the last minute and everything gets passed around separately, and frankly can be a nuisance, while the poor teacher is trying to bring the Spirit into the meeting.

The folder is a great idea, but needs to be brought up to date every week. Outside sign-up sheets need to follow some kind of protocol, so everything is included in the ONE folder. (But that’s just a little pet peeve of mine.)

If it were me, I would do away with sign-up sheets all together. Sign-up sheets give people a choice whether to participate or not. When it comes to Relief Society, people should be ready to participate, no matter what, right? Sometimes we allow too many choices, and it separates us in the long run. Shouldn’t we be emphasizing unity, teamwork, solidarity? A group discussion with hands raised to volunteer adds excitement and momentum. A charge to get the job done…together!

Consider what you are asking your sisters to do. Is it really worth a sign-up sheet that doesn’t give you clear results anyway? Is a raise of hands any more productive? Is there too much emphasis on the planning, and not so much in the doing?