I am, always have been, and always will be, one of those "rock the boat" types of people. I try to be tactful about it, but sometimes I am not, and sometimes I don't try to be. Sometimes being blunt is just the way to go in order to get through thicker heads. And my head is the thickest. I can accept that.
Our ward is having an EQ activity on Friday night. It's basically a cooking competition between the men in the ward. An announcement was made in RS that it was for "couples", not kids. I wasn't there when the announcement was made, however, as a former older single person, I know the hairs on the back of my neck would have been raised had I heard that. Especially considering my mom is in my ward and is single. Now, I realize that it wasn't an intentional slight, however, it is all too common in our blissfully, happily married church. I have many friends that are single that experience being excluded weekly in their wards. Weekly.
But wait, there is more. Because this is my blog and my rant. Not only is it for couples, but babysitting isn't going to be provided. So everyone in the ward who wants to go, has to find a babysitter and then provide a meal worthy of competition. When I mentioned that it would be difficult for people to go because we don't have a lot of babysitters in our ward, a friend said, "Don't you have a built in babysitter?" Again, my mom is in my ward, and therefore invited to the activity! I should ask her to stay home and babysit my kids for free instead of going, right?
I do not think that people should ever be asked to find babysitters in order to attend a Church sponsored activity. Ever. I know of several members of my ward struggling financially with a few kids. They are supposed to spend $15-20 on babysitting to go to a ward activity? And cook for it? So now they are out $30? How does that make sense? It doesn't to me. Thick skull that I am.
I'm just raining all over this parade, aren't I? Poor EQ - they just wanted to have a fun party and in the process here I am criticizing their invitation methods as well as their planning methods.
But in a world where a growing majority of the Church is older and single and struggling to find where to fit in, it pains me that there isn't more sensitivity and thought put into things like this. And in a world where friends are losing jobs and struggling to make ends meet, I find it sad that they might be excluded from spending an evening with friends because they can't afford to pay a babysitter.
Please - be sensitive!!! People have left the Church over situations like this because it was just the last straw. We are not a society exclusively of young marrieds with little kids. There is much to be learned and admired about men and women who stay active and strong in a Church that is centered around families. The more all are included, the better off we will all be.