Angela Trusty
Sometimes things don't go as planned...

Dear Angela,

What is the best way to handle situations where some people do not follow through with their assignments and responsibilities in church? And how can I keep a positive attitude when an activity or lesson goes awry due to unfulfilled assignments? — Sincerely, Frustrated in Salt Lake City

Dear Frustrated in Salt Lake City,

I've been on both the frustrated side of this question and also the guilty/didn't bring the cookies/forgot my lesson/ruined everything side — but in truth, it's all good! If people have showed up to your lesson or activity (even with all your planning falling apart) you still have an opportunity to impact their lives for good.

For the most part, people want to feel cared about and valued, and there are some simple ways to do that even in the midst of a lesson/activity fail.

Try this list:

1. Smile at and say hello to the first person you see.

2. Introduce yourself and get his/her name.

3. Learn something new about that person and use his or her name at least once in the conversation.

(This will help you remember it for later.)

(example: So, Angela, do you think the Ravens will win the Super Bowl?)

4. Suggest a way to your new friend that the two of you could help improve the activitiy or lesson.

(example: "Hey, why don't we..." "Want to go help with..." "Let's see if they need...")

5. Rinse and Repeat.

The main idea is that people can still feel good, learn a lot, be uplifted and make friends even when the initial plans has fallen through. Also, your main goal, of serving and loving your friends and churchmates can still be accomplished. So, Frustrated, keep doing your best and giving your best effort, and let the chips (or forgotten chips, as the case may be) fall where they may.



Readers: How do you keep a positive attitude when things don't go as planned? Please share your experiences in the comments.

Advice columnist Angela Trusty answers questions about a variety of topics, including the Mormon young single adult experience. Email: [email protected] Twitter: angelatrusty