I went to EFY two weeks ago and it was, hands-down, one of the best weeks of my life!! I could write pages and pages about it, but there is one experience in particular that I felt was important to share.
Every day at EFY, there are Morningsides (morning firesides) taught by the EFY session director. One morning, the Young Men and Young Women each had a separate Morningside. The night before, our session director had asked all of the EFY counselors to send in messages from the girls to give to the boys and vice versa. During this Morningside, our session director told the girls that he had received over 400 messages of words of advice for the boys alone. He then read what he called the “abridged version of ‘A Message From the YW’”. This message for the boys consisted of many things, mainly along these lines:
- Be gentlemen
- Smile! 🙂
- Be confident (but humble)
- Don’t try to show off
- Talk to us more often
- Give sincere compliments
Then he read “A Message From the YM” to the Young Women. Here are some excerpts:
- When you have high standards, it helps us be the best we can be.
- You are all beautiful daughters of God, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
- When you make right choices, it builds our spirits.
- You are a major influence on how guys see themselves.
- You are awesome!
- We love and respect you.
- Be the kind of girl that makes us want to be better.
All of the girls were beaming and felt so special! The list from the YM was so much more heartfelt than the list from the YW. Then one of the counselors went up to the microphone and said: “I just wanted to let you know that the boys were so happy to give you their list. And when they heard yours…girls, the disappointment was written all over their faces.”
Cue hearts breaking! Everyone felt so ashamed and absolutely terrible about the list for the boys. The YW were focusing on how the YM could improve, and all they wanted to tell us was how special we were as daughters of God!! I don’t know if there was a dry eye in that room! One girl voiced what we were all thinking: “Can’t we have a second chance?? Let’s write them a new list!” Everyone agreed with a resounding “yes!” Our session director smiled and told us of course, and the boys would love to receive a new list. Then he told us something that resonated within my heart: People have more depth than you give them credit for; we need to recognize that each person is doing the best they can.
Our session director continued:
- When people see you, they should see Christ. You are His representative – ask yourself: how should that affect my actions?
- You have the capacity to change the world for good or evil. Use your power carefully.
- Always contribute to positive behavior. You are wired for greatness!
- There is no greater influence in this world than that of a righteous young woman.
As the girls in my group were walking from the auditorium to meet the boys for lunch, my friend said, “Often in society, boys are told to treat girls kindly. And that’s very important, don’t get me wrong, but it is just as important for girls to treat boys kindly.” It truly is! We need to lift each other up, not tear each other down.
The next day, as everyone gathered for the Morningside, our session director read “A Revised Message From the YW”. In this list, the YW made sure to express how much we appreciated the YM and their efforts to be kind to us. This time, the boys were beaming from ear to ear. 🙂 And for the rest of EFY, there wasn’t a door that wasn’t held open by those gentlemen, and it was noticeable how everyone treated each other with even more love. This experience was one of the most powerful lessons I learned that week: look for the good in others, don’t judge, and see what others are truly worth as precious children of God.
How do you look for the good in others – and what are ways you can let them know?