Guilt in teaching

Julie M. Smith:

I’m sure you’ve heard counsel to the YM along the lines of “Don’t just marry a girl because she’s pretty–you may be stuck with a shallow, or faithless, or humorless hag for all eternity” (of course, they phrase it a little more nicely). But you never hear this: “Don’t just date the pretty girls, because you’ll cause girls to obsess about their looks and possibly sin as they try to win the beauty arms race.” In other words, we always couch the counsel in terms of the costs and benefits to the boy himself–not to the girls affected by his decisions. We should do the same with the YW. Each YM or YW should be the star of their own story–not the subject of someone else’s.

via Stop Telling the YW to Be Modest for the YM | Times & Seasons.

This is a great post, and the above is one of many fantastic points from Julie.

I think the difference in teaching style stems from the differing responses of genders in incentives; or at least assumptions about that. It seems that males do not tend to respond as well to guilt as they do to self-interest while the reverse may be true of women, as they are more likely to be self-sacrificing. Of course this may not always or even mostly be true, but it’s a cultural stereotype we seem to have been conditioned to accept.

That being said, guilt never seems to be an overall effective method for teaching doctrine. The spirit is not going to accompany guile and compulsion in teaching, and without that divine seal, testimonies aren’t strengthened.