Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My Opinion

Last night I was invited as the primary pianist to sit in on the primary presidency meeting to give my two cents about music needs. I went into the meeting telling myself to keep my mouth shut because 1. I am not the chorister and 2. I have opinions about everything and a lot of times my mouth runs off with my strong opinions and that can hurt people. So I spent at least 1 hour sitting there, looking thoughtful, laughing at the appropriate times and generally just trying to keep warm because the heat had not been turned on in the primary room. Then it happened. The president starts talking about sharing time and starts handing out printoffs from the internet from a non-church website. Well, it's a website with the church's name in it, but not I have very strong feelings about using ONLY the church's website when preparing lessons. I feel that if the general primary presidency was inspired to come up with the ideas then I am going to use them and nothing else. At one point one of the ladies says she is confused about something and I pop off with "Doesn't The Friend have sharing time ideas anymore?" Ooops. There it is. My opinion overflowing and bubbling out of my mouth like a a rabid animal. Another lady says, "Jeanna was a stickler about using The Friend for sharing time." That was a nice way of putting it. At this point I can feel the flush in my cheeks, not from embarassment but from this need I have to tell everyone just what I think and why I believe my thoughts are superior to everyone else's. Yikes. Can somebody please stop me? The president, bless her heart, just said, "Tell me about that." So I proceeded to tell them exactly why I think using The Friend is so important. But here is the deal, I know I come off looking all high and mighty, like my reasoning is based on spiritual ground and therefore is unshakable. After some discussion I could tell that they were understanding what I was saying and were very open to it. However, I still feel bad. Maybe it isn't that I have to express my opinion, but maybe it is because I stifle myself for so long that by the time it comes out it is forceful and like a slap in the face instead of a kind suggestion.

Anyone who knows me knows this about me. I have opinions. I like to share them. And in many cases I come across as less than charitable. In fact, last night after I got home I got a call from Karen and her exact first words were, "I need to ask your opinion." My exact response was, "I ALWAYS have an opinion, ask away."

I think that voicing what I think is healthy on a lot of levels, but maybe not so healthy for interpersonal relationships with acquiantances. Now that I think about it I am probably way to open with my opinion with my family and close friends too.

I think the only time my opinion is really great is when I am asked to tell a friend whether or not an article of clothing looks good and she specifically asks me to tell the truth. That I am good at. If it looks awful I tell her. If it is okay, so-so, I tell her that. But if it is terrific I tell her that too.

The moral of this story is that if you want an honest opinion I will give it to you. Every time. Just be specific and tell me that it is honesty you want, otherwise I will gloss over the truth.

Glossed over Truth: That new shirt looks great!
The Cold Hard Truth: Oh honey, that shirt makes you look like a beached whale who needs to get more sun.

Glossed over Truth: Great new haircut!
The Cold Hard Truth: Yikes, what were you and your hairdresser thinking? Terrible cut, terrible color. Not so many layers next time okay?

Glossed over Truth: Nice talk today!
The Cold Hard Truth: I was so bored I don't remember a thing you said.

You get the idea. Unfortunately for H he is on the receiving end of most of my cold hard truths. Are you going to wear that on our date tonight? Dude, get a toothbrush. Do your hair, it looks terrible.

The good news is that if you ask for the truth and I give a compliment it is sincere. For instance, H looks great in his olive colored shirt and red shirt. Very, very nice. He looks excellent in his suit. When he gets his hair cut and doesn't get it cut to the quick he looks terrific.

So even knowing this about me, H still doesn't trust me when he says, "Am I as fat as that guy?" and I tell him no. But if he IS as fat as that guy, I will tell him yes. And I expect him to do the same for me.

Wow, and I thought I didn't have anything to blog about today. Boy was I wrong! (Again, the cold hard truth, even I can admit when I am wrong.)


Holley, Dane Brien & Wesley Berry said...

I actually respect people who feel comfortable enough with themselves to share their opinions and I think in this case that you were right to say what you said. I am too often afraid to speak out because of how I will be perceived and I think that is wrong. You should never be afraid to speak out when it pertains to how you fulfill your callings in the Church especially when it comes to teaching our youth. I have heard many of the Elders tell us to stay true to the resources provided by the Church. They have been provided for a reason, so that we don't muddy the waters.

Abbie said...

I agree with Holley. But then again, I'm also someone who has strong opinions. But, ya, it kind of tips me off my rocker when people stray from the specified materials the church has given us to use something else, ie: RS lessons that rarely stick close to the manual.

mom/Janet said...

I have always thought you were diplomatic when expressing you opinions. Having said what you have, I feel somewhat complimented in some of your feelings that you have shared about me, Bill and our children. I felt at the time they were sincere but now there is no doubt. Stay strong. I'm a wet noodle.

Cote Corner said...

:)haha. That's why I liked going shopping with you at Christmas time. I knew that you'd tell me if something really looked good or not. When it comes to buying clothes, I really want to know if it looks good or not. I don't want to spend 20$ on a top that makes me look like a whale! :) Though, I must say there are times when it is appropriate to give opinions and times when it's not. It's up to you to figure that out I guess. (I don’t see anything wrong with voicing your concerns at your meeting) but like you said, maybe you just need to think about HOW you're voicing them. (i've always told justin that you are very opinionated.. that can be good, or not so good depending on how you come accross when sharing them.) I too, am opinionated. (can you tell?!) Hopefully I am not taken as a "know it all" cause that is NOt the case at all! Anywho.. Love ya sister! (and that's the truth! not glossed over at all!)

Brent and Collette said...

You were right on about using extra material. I must admit I don't use only the Friend. But, we do stick right with the CSMP book that they send with the weekly topics. That is something we DO NOT stray from. We've decided that if other people have come up with ideas for sharing time, we should use them...can you tell we're not the most creative presidency?
Anyway...I've never thought that you were overly opinionated-ever. I'll have to pay more attention!

Julie J. said...

From one opinionated person to another- I cherish your opinions, don't stop.

Julie J. said...

From one opinionated person to another- I cherish your opinions, don't stop.

hyker said...

I'm with you on using the Friend and I don't even teach Primary. So you're opinionated.....that's not necessarily a bad thing. I tend not to speak my mind....and I really wish it was easier for me to do so.

Brittany said...

there is something to be said about a person that tells the truth, always. i think it's great. if someone wants an answer sensitive to their feelings, they'll just have to seek else where.

Juliew8 said...

I have a friend who was sitting in a YW pres meeting, and the other 3 ladies actually decided that once a month they wouldn't teach a lesson from the manual, they would concentrate on the things the girls are really concerned about makeup and dating etc. My friend kindly told them that if they continued on this path she would go straight to the bishop and ask to be released. That is why we are supposed to stay with the church's material. Too often people start with something innocent and stray, thus getting away from doctrine, not a good idea. Thank goodness there are people around willing to stand up for what is right. We have been given so many resources, if they run out of those then maybe they can look elsewhere (not going to happen). Good job. By the way I have been on the receiving end of your honestly, you are very diplomatic, but definitely honest.

Daledogg said...

Jeanna, I must say as someone who has recieved the REAL truth from you before, I appreciate your candor and sincerity. Obviously there is a line that shouldn't be crossed and it is good you are aware of that. Having said that, I appreciate it when those opinions I care about and pay attention to aren't just fluff and catered to me, but the actual truth. I like you just the way you are.

Masters Of Disasters said...

well I am glad I know a little more about you, you've got opinions and you like to use them! Good to know. Good to know about the friend for sharing time too. I just got put in the primary presidency and I don't really know what I am suppose to be doing. If there is any other advice you have for it, let me know! I probably would have been the person on the wrong web page. Oops.