How to train a man before he hits puberty

So Jason and I have a new calling. We’re the Valiant 9 primary teachers at church. I’m sure most of you are shocked that I got released from my last calling, what with how well I handled things.

We’ve got five kids in our class–two girls and three boys. It’s been a month now and I’m definitely seeing a pattern emerge.

We start to ask a question.

Both girls raise their hands to answer before we’ve even gotten to the question.

The three boys cross their arms, sigh a little, and look at the ceiling.

What do you do? So we call on one of the girls. Here’s an example.

“Where did we–”

Two hands shoot into the air, as both girls burst out of their chairs in total anticipation.

“Oooh! Oooh!”

“–come from before we came to Earth? Suzie?” (Names have been changed, BTW.)

“I–oh. Well, my sister is dating this boy and he’s, like, talking to the missionaries and stuff, and he was totally going to get baptised but then she decided maybe she didn’t want to date him anymore and now he’s not talking to any of us at all. I mean, can you believe that?”

That’s when the boys lean forward and try to nonchalantly cover their ears. Those poor boys don’t have a chance in Hades. They don’t even try to participate most of the time because they know that no matter what they do, the girls will always be quicker on the draw and have seven times more to say.

And frankly, they might as well figure us out now because some things just never change.


  1. So, so true.

  2. Wow, that will be a challenging calling. That is funny that they want to answer a question BEFORE the question is even asked. At least, they are holding up their hands!! But yes,” train up a young man NOW in the way he should go , and he will learn to withstand the fiery darts of women. ‘

  3. Awesome. I spent this Fall bobbing from class to class. (CTR 5, Valiant 8, Valiant 9 I landed with the Merrie Miss…um…Valiant 11-12 girls. Love it. But the boys in my ward are mouthy. I liked that and kind of miss those guys.

  4. I can’t believe that boy won’t talk to her now that they’re not dating. So typical.

  5. I’m teaching the Valiant 10’s! They are a really great group. The girls and one boy usually dominate the conversations. Everything was doing great yesterday until one boy called a rather shy girl in our class weird, and that shut her up the rest of the class. So I talked to him after class, but I’ll have to wait til next week to see how my inspirational talk of how to treat women affected him.

  6. I love those boys! Good boys that learn to keep their mouths shut…Yesterday I did my hair a little different than normal and two sixteen year olds ran up to me and told me how bad my hair looked!! Seriously! I was like, um go away!

  7. I’m PMPLing at Wendy’s comment! Oh, and you need bribes. Boys have to have some sort of goal / reward. Probably not the most spiritual advice, but I’d find some sort of chart or tracking system to motivate the boys to beat the girls at interacting in class.

  8. Painfully true. But I loved teaching that age group once upon a time. They’re old enough to actually LEARN something, but not so old they’re too cool to be there.

  9. Teach ’em early.

  10. …and I bet it smells like cotton candy.

  11. OH so true…wise one!!! 🙂

  12. annie valentine says:

    Mel – Seriously? I would have been dishing out some serious head slapping accompanied by background lecture’s that start with things like, “Din’ yo mama teach you..”

    Natalie – Our PP won’t allow any kind of candy or reward incentives, and she doesn’t allow competition. She says it’s of the Devil. I learned in my last calling to to not buck the authority.

  13. no rewards? no candy? Now THAT is evil! I taught the Valiant 10’s with my husband and we basically forced the boys to answer, even if they were sitting back with the “I’m too cool for this” look. We’d say, “so, JIM, what do think this means?” cue deer in headlight look, BUT they would always answer for us and loosened up a little. We also took a ball to class, ask a question, then toss it to someone to answer. It worked really well with that age. Good luck!!

  14. NO FOOD?!?!?!? THAT is of the DEVIL!!! Our Gospel Doctrine teacher brings us cookies every week and we’re adults!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

    OH WAIT…I know how to get around this!!! You take it to their homes AFTER church!!! YES!!! If they participate. (and they can’t put up their hand, you will ask them the question by name…) then they will get a reward afterwards.

    That’s what the Gospel is about is being rewarded for our works…is the PP on crack????

  15. annie valentine says:

    Rebecca – We implemented the ball last week, you’re right, it works great.

    But, for some reason, it doesn’t stop the girls from raising their hands–even though they know they aren’t getting to answer the question. Plus, they like to add to the boys’ answers whenever possible.

  16. Wow that sounds just like how it goes when I teach my sunday school class.

    And I teach the 17-18 yr olds.

  17. Yep, I miss food in Primary too… but truly, it’s for the best. Food (sugar) shouldn’t be the reason kids should come to Church.

    I’m in a new Primary Presidency & we’re in a ward with a HEAVY tradition of food – in ALL classes!! But we have some allergies/health issues/alternative diets that have to be considered. Imagine being the only kid who gets a graham cracker, while all the others get a big ol’ brownie. Plus some teachers always bring treats, while others never do. Lots of hurt feelings.

    Plus – the handbook specifically says no food, unless it’s an integral part of the lesson (ie., pita bread=shewbread=Jesus teaching the Sacrament). But PLEASE! Take treats to their homes! Gives a one-on-one contact, & makes them feel special!

  18. omgoodness, I want to be on the defense here for the girls, but I’m thinking…”Do I talk that much?”

    btw, NO offense taken…you say it how you see it, and it’s hilarious! xoxo.

  19. ok, i just saw

    “the frightening fabulous life of jane”

    that is funny.

    i can’t wait to show my husband, he’s going to die laughing!

  20. I love the way you paint a picture just like it really is. So stinkin’ true…all of it. Good luck. You’ll do just fine. I’ve taught sunbeams, CTR 6, and Valiant 10/11. And Valiant was the hardest and most entertaining if you want my opinion. But that’s just me. 🙂 Enjoy your salami!

  21. Our Valiant 9 class is always the toughest- every year, even though the kids change. I think that is a tough age, so you will be extra blessed for teaching them! We (finally) got a teacher last week for them. Hopfully this will last all year (especially since my son is in that class!)

  22. At first I was a little shocked and a just rolled my eyes and turned away. Then they just stood there and were like ‘I just like to share my opinions…’, and I politely cursed at them: “DID YOU REALLY JUST COME OVER HERE TO MAKE ME FEEL BAD?!” and shooed them away. Stupid boys. (I’m the YW pres. so I suppose they think they have some sort of responsibility of telling me if I look stupid? Who knew my hair meant so much to sixteen year old boys!?)
    Oh, and by the way, my hair looked AWESOME! 🙂