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Cover image via LDS.org.
Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking to a stake Relief Society gathering in Washington. It happens that a childhood friend of mine is now a ward Relief Society president there, and mentioned that the woman who gave the closing prayer once told her, “I’m a Show-er Upper.”
What a fabulous trait to be known for. In a world of people who find excuses not to attend various events, how refreshing it is to meet someone who has defined themselves as a person you can count on. Wow.
We love people like this, don’t we? When you have a sign-up sheet for your son’s Eagle Scout project, or a list of food needed for a funeral, or you want folks to attend a ward dinner or a Helping Hands event, don’t you feel a well of gratitude for the folks you can always count on? The ones who have already decided they’ll show up?
A few decades ago it became trendy to hear professional speakers urge listeners to learn how to say no. What a concept—we could stop burning ourselves out, be a little bit selfish, and remember that saying no to others is saying yes to ourselves and our families. Ahhh…
But too many took it too far, and stopped volunteering entirely. We stopped sacrificing for a good cause, we stopped agreeing to help out when a need arose. The result was that we—and our kids—missed the lesson of service. Granted, not everyone fell into this attractively adorned trap. But those who did found they were less happy, less valued in their social circle, and less able to raise selfless kids.
To be sure, we need to find the right balance. Running ourselves ragged is not the answer any more than is sitting on our sofas with the TV remote for hours on end. We need to help out enough to enlarge our hearts and our understanding of others. We need to give of ourselves in a Christlike way, not begrudgingly. And we also need to put our family first, giving time to those in our stewardship. This careful balancing act doesn’t automatically happen, but must be carefully designed through inspiration.
BUT… how great is it to find someone who has simply given themselves the label of being a Show-er Upper? It removes the decision-making (and the excuse making), and you simply decide you’ll be there. You’ll put into action that raised hand of sustaining, and help that person succeed in their calling. This attitude of constantly giving yields a wonderful side effect: You glow. Your kids also pick up that spirit of cooperation and see themselves as reliable, helpful people. You could hardly ask for a better life lesson for them.
Show-er Uppers also seem naturally cheerful. They’re there willingly, they’re looking for how they can help in the kitchen or with setting up chairs, they greet newcomers. They give themselves jobs to ease yours.
Show-er Uppers are natural leaders. Their priority is the success of the event, and they’re ready with their sleeves rolled up to make it happen. They’re ideal employees who never think, “What’s in it for me?” but arrive with their cup already full, willing to share. They are the lifeblood of everything we plan, from the folks who make temple trips to the ones who show up for baptisms. They feed the missionaries, they report their visiting and home teaching, they inspire everyone around them to step it up.
In my twenties I met a sister who said her dad taught her that “you can’t have a party if no one shows up,” so she always made a point of being at people’s activities and wedding receptions whenever she possibly could. I wonder how many people were relieved to see her arrive, knowing that she cared enough simply to be there in support.
None of us are perfect. All of us strive and struggle to live all the commandments, to have charity and forgiveness, to inch our way home. But let’s all get on board with this one area we can conquer with a simple declaration of purpose: I’m a Show-er Upper.