I am the world’s worst visiting teacher. I don’t know why this is so hard for me. I’ve certainly had enough years to get good at it. But it is the one thing at church I don’t seem to get.
How hard is this really? You have three or four women, you get together with another woman (or not) and you go visit them each month. Seems like it ought to be pretty simple. But it’s not. Every month I get to, oh, say the 25th and the thought crosses my mind that I’m supposed to be doing something (though sometimes I forget completely). And then the thought leaves and another month goes by.
Is it because it feels like one more obligation? Is it because I’m really a shy person and I have a hard time doing one-on-one with people I don’t know? That really is true. I’d rather speak in stake conference than call someone I don’t know and invite myself over for a visit.
Or is there some great vision here I’m missing. Maybe I just got off to a bad start. I’ve never really had a companion who was enthusiastic about visiting teaching. I’ve had more than a few visiting teachers who were at least as bad as it as I was. Perhaps it was one of those early visiting teachers who thought it was her duty to educate me in the “proper” way to be a wife/mother/homemaker that left a bad taste in my mouth. Or maybe it was the ward I lived in for eight years, where my visiting teachers changed an average of three times/year. Or the companion who looked at me the first time we met and told me I was sent as an answer to her prayers (yikes!).
On the other hand, I’ve had some pretty amazing visiting teachers over the years. There was the one who came over at 2 a.m. so I wouldn’t have to wake my kids when I had to make an emergency trip to the hospital. There was another one who showed up at my door with dinner for my family minutes after I walked in the door from a surgery I thought no one knew about–and she had just moved into the ward the week before. I didn’t even know she was my visiting teacher yet. Or the visiting teacher who came over and helped me paint my master bedroom with the 13-foot ceiling and held the ladder because she didn’t me to fall off and break my hip (it really did happen to another sister in ward doing the same thing). And the ones who were just there, who actually checked up on me more than once a month and knew what was happening in my life and didn’t make me feel like an obligation or an assignment.
Some of my dearest friends started out as visiting teachers or visiting teachees (is that a word–it is now because it’s right there in black-and-white) or companions. So why is it so hard? It’s the one thing I’d really like to be better at, but I’m not even sure how to get there after a quarter-century of not being good at it.
So, it’s the beginning of the month, more or less. I really do want to change this and be better. I know visiting teaching isn’t going to happen this week. This week is youth conference and I need to be there so that’s half my week gone and I still have a full week of work to do in the half-week I have left. I think I have a night route. Not my first choice but since that’s where I’m needed that’s where I need to be. And this week only has one night in it that I don’t already have a church commitment and it has a business commitment. So, next week it is.
So, what is it that makes you either anticipate or dread visiting teaching? From either end. Do you look forward to visiting teaching or having your visiting teachers come or do you hope the month will pass by quickly and move on to the next one? What makes it work or not work for you?