“Helping Daughters with Personal Progress,” Ensign, Sept. 2011, 21
Annette Barnes of Georgia, USA, didn’t always love Personal Progress. Although her first two daughters, Christie and Lori, both earned their Young Women medallions, Annette saw the program as just another project in her teens’ already-too-full schedules.
That changed when Annette decided to complete Personal Progress herself so that she could better support her youngest daughters as they participated. She worked alongside Lisa, now 17, for three and a half years. While mothers should not feel obligated to participate in Personal Progress with their daughters, Annette says doing so showed her how the program could strengthen her daughters.
Today, Annette serves as the Young Women president in her ward and is working with her youngest daughter, Katie, 14, in completing Personal Progress.
The Barneses commit time on Sunday afternoons to the program. “Progress doesn’t always require big chunks of time,” Annette says. “We just need to be consistent.”
Annette recalls that in an effort to jump-start one of her daughters on a particular value, she gave her an assignment, to which her daughter reluctantly agreed. Even though her daughter knew Annette was just trying to help, the experience, Annette says, wasn’t as positive as it might have been.
“I’ve learned that it’s better to give my daughters lots of ideas and then step back and let them choose. It’s best to explore ideas together and then let this be theirs—their Personal Progress.”
Annette has found that Personal Progress is a setting in which she can share her testimony with her children. “There are little moments when you’re talking—when they come to you and ask you to sign something so they can pass off a goal—that you can ask, ‘What did you learn?’” says Annette. “Sometimes I listen and then simply tell them ‘That’s great’ and let them go on their way. But other times there’s a chance to tell them about a similar experience I had or a different principle I learned from doing the same goal. Personal Progress regularly provides little moments like that to bear testimony in informal ways.”
Annette attributes those moments to her decision to become more involved with the program. She says, “I know someday I will be released as the Young Women president, but I will never be released as a parent. I will be able to see the benefits of Personal Progress in my daughters’ lives, not only for them but for my grandchildren as well. And that is an exciting, heartwarming prospect.
“Personal Progress really does change lives. I know because it has changed ours.”