When our family went to California last summer we ran into a fellow Young Women president who told me about a great idea they implemented last year:

In their congregation of girls they set aside one particular week to help the girls more fully understand that they are God’s children. They had a powerful lesson on a Sunday to kick-off the week, and sent each girl home with a large envelope filled with seven smaller envelopes: one for each day of the week. The girls opened one envelope each day and were edified by either a poem, a CD with a beautiful song on it, or a short story to further help them understand that they are daughters of God. The next Sunday (which was Fast Sunday), they invited all the parents and girls and leaders to fast for those girls that their understanding of their divine nature would be more apparent in their lives. They had a special meeting at church with the girls and their parents complete with a slide-show from when the girls were babies, and an opportunity for the girls to tell about any experiences they had during the week. Then all girls, leaders, and all their families met at someone’s house after church to have dinner together.

The theory is that if teenagers realize more fully that they are God’s children and that He loves them and wants to help them through life, peer pressure and tribulations will become easier to bear. Making good decisions that will impact their lives and those of others around them for good will come more readily.

When this amazing YW president explained the whole concept I was baffled. How in the world could someone pull off something like that? I thought to myself that that sure was an awesome idea…for someone organized and on-top-of-things like she was.

With that, I shoved that big idea into the “ideas for later” section of my mind and tried to stay afloat in the everyday chaos that seems to be surrounding me these days.

But instead of that idea getting buried deeper and getting lost like most ideas tend to do in that section, it kept resurfacing. I thought about it at the grocery store. And at the bank. And on Wednesday nights when I hung out with all these girls.

I knew we needed to do it. And my dear, sweet ladies I work with agreed. And also agreed to help.

A lot.We went to the temple together and brainstormed ideas.

Some leaders agreed to make one of the seven envelopes…no small feat when you have to make 50 of them (we made one for all the leaders and our Bishop and Stake YW president too). Others agreed to gather pictures for the slide show, to figure out the dinner, to coordinate the activity that week, etc.

One day after a board meeting we stuffed all the envelopes people had brought into the bigger envelopes.
Another leader taught the kick-off lesson and we passed out these little puppies into the hot little hands of each and every girl as they left church, praying that something in these envelopes would stick to their hearts, and help them realize how important and beautiful and loved they are.

The younger ones were pleased as punch. The older ones I’m sure were a little more skeptical. It’s a lot to ask when you’re already piled high with homework and extracurricular activities galore, especially because we wanted them to record their thoughts in their journal each day.

The Sunday that we gathered all the girls and their families to conclude our special week happened to be the day after my Mom and I presented at Time Out for Women, and three days before Evening in Excellence. Yeah, don’t ask who the planner of all this was πŸ™‚ I honestly don’t know what I would have done without my mom staying up all night with me making soup and brownies while I tried to finish the slide show on Saturday night.

But man alive that all sure payed off during that last meeting on Sunday when those girls shared their thoughts about how that week had affected them. There was such a strong beautiful feeling in that room and I think everyone felt such strong love pouring down from Heaven. Even the older, most busy girls expressed how they had been worried about the time commitment but how those little envelopes had helped change their vantage point that week.

After church we gathered with the almost 200 family members of the girls and us leaders at the home of our Bishop and enjoyed all the food everyone brought. How I hope these girls will always remember their individual worth in the eyes of their Father…the one up in Heaven who loves them so.

post edit note: I’ve had hundreds of requests for more info. on exactly what was inside the envelopes. Please leave your email address and I can send you any info. you need…or better yet, I’ll have the amazing girl who came up with this idea in the first place send you hers! πŸ™‚

second post edit note: Elle has worked her little heart out to get emails sent to all the people on this list and is finally finished! (hooray!) If you are reading this post after January 12, 2012 and would still like to have the information, please see below…

THIRD post-edit note (7-9-14):
I have figured out how to attach all the info. from the email I have been sending directly to people who have requested it into a blog post. Β Click HERE to download all the links and information about this week if you would like to replicate it in your own neck of the woods. Β May these materials be a help to you and the girls you are working with!

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  1. I love this idea…I had similar thoughts as I sat in on the Sunday lesson with the 12-13 yr olds last Sunday. This is exactly what our girls need to think about and know! I think I'll bring this idea up at our next meeting. πŸ™‚

  2. If only I could see the letters and lessons you used! I have been searching for just such affirmations. It is a good reminder for all of God's daughters, not just YW. Any specific documents you used?

  3. Wow, wow, wow…that is completely amazing! I can't even begin to imagine the amount of effort that went into planning it, but no doubt it was all worth it and I'm sure that week will have made a lasting impression on those girls. I sure wish I had been able to experience a week like that πŸ™‚ I guess it was a good thing you didn't plan it for all 780 YW in the stake!

  4. I have been reading your blog for some time, and I have enjoyed doing so. I love this idea. My husband has been called recently to be the YM president in our ward, and he has been overwhelmed and humbled with this calling. This idea would work well with the YM as well. Thank you for all your inspiring words.

  5. I have to speak at YW in Excellence for my stake this Sunday and a portion of my talk is focusing on the divine nature of these girls. Do you by chance know what kinds of stories/scritpures,ideas were in those envelopes? I am struggling with what to share and would love to hear of a story or quote, or something that stuck out to you as special for these girls. My email is kellyahlander@yahoo.com

  6. Amazing!! This brought tears to my eyes. I LOVE this idea. You are so incredible. Keep up the great work you are doing. Those YW are so very lucky. Thanks for sharing. I will be storing this idea until I get back into YW's one day.

  7. I am a reader of your blog from a good friend of mine who lives in AZ. I've read a lot of your moms books and I have been reading your blog for a long time now. I love it. Although I sometimes feel like I can't relate because I have a 3.5 year old and an 18 mos old, I do try to remember things you write about your kids for my future.
    I had a question…maybe you can do a Friday Q&A with it: What kind of scripture reading would you do with a 3.5 year old? I have the BOM reader for kids and it's just so random. The story of Ammon chopping off the arms is a little much for such a young mind. I do want my kids to have a love for scriptures but I'm not sure where to start. Do you have any suggestions with what to do with such young children?
    You have an amazing blog, family and stories. I really am grateful I've found this blog.

  8. I have a quote that I put where I can see it everyday. I got it from the New Era (church magazine) but didn't write who wrote it–but it is my favorite about this topic you wrote about…

    "You become what you think about. If you spend your entire day thinking about the things the world thinks about, you will become like the world. It's impossible to become anything that you don't think about. If you want to become a righteous son or daughter of God who understands the Savior and His mission, you must study and think about those thins."

  9. Hi Shawni! Wonderful idea! Not currently in YW, but would love to pass this on (or keep in my 'idea file'). My email is kaleyq@hotmail.com. Going to TOFW this weekend … wish I could hear you speak again this year! πŸ™‚ Hope you and your family are doing well!

  10. I would also love any info you could share with me. What a fantastic idea. I basically read something from your parents 5 Spiritual Solution book everyday. I re-inforce the fact that they are "God's child" in everything we do…they are valueable!! Love those Eyre's. One of these days I am going to get to Power of Women weekend. Thanks so much for sharing your great ideas.

  11. This is amazing. I am in our Stake YW and I would love to see our YW participate in this program. Would I be able to get a copy of what went in the envelopes and any other details that may have been missed. This sister is definitely in tune. Thank you so much for sharing. leslie.lowry@westwind.ab.ca

  12. Shawni, for your Friday Q&As:

    As a mother, do you think it's more important to set rules and a culture in the home in which the parents can best function? Or set rules and culture which best fit the child?

    I'm leaning to the first option. But I know every kid is different and maybe needs more customized parenting.

  13. I love this idea and would love more info so we could think about this with our ward's YW. Thank you so much for sharing!!
    lisa_schaack at yahoo.com

  14. Please Please send me the ideas from inside those envelopes. Our YW is tiny (we have anywhere from 3-7 girls depending on luck and parental willingness). Our girls need something truly spectacular to help them know how very loved that are. My email is mantylou@msn dot com. Thanks

  15. Okay, so I also need a little "Friday Q&A" help. πŸ™‚ I have three little ones (barely 4, 2 1/2, and 6 months). My 4 year old has always been the most obedient, helpful, loving little guy. Lately, though, he is TOTALLY pushing the limits… not responding when I am talking to him, harassing his little sister, yelling at me when I ask him to do something, etc. I'm completely taken by surprise because it came on so suddenly. We've never had to have any major discipline system in place because he's always been so good and easy. Anyway, do you have any suggestions for me?

    Thank you! I love your blog. You are so inspiring!

  16. I would love a copy of what was in your envelopes – please. I really loved that you went to the temple as leaders and brainstormed together – what a powerful experience for your girls!

  17. I love this idea!!! I was just put in the YW's and am like a sponge with ur ideas. They r awesome. Your blog is so inspiring. Thank u!!! I would love for u to send me this idea and any others that u would share! My email is pbsmiths4@gmail.com.

  18. I've been reading your blog for a while now, and it has had such a positive impact on me. I love it! I'm not a mom, (I'm 21 yrs old, and just about to graduate college.), but want more than anything in this world to be a mother someday. I hope to be a combination of the type of mom you- and my own mom- are to my future kids. In fact, you remind me a lot of my mom in your passion, love, and dedication to motherhood.

    So while I'm not in YW, I would also love to receive the info. just for myself. jajackman724@gmail.com Thanks so much!! Also, thanks for being another amazing example of righteous motherhood.

  19. The support your church gives these young women trying to find their way today is astounding to me. It's exactly what needs to happen everywhere.

  20. What a wonderful idea and I would love to do this with our Young Women. I would appreciate a copy of the stories and talk if you don't mind. You can email it to me at eamurray718@yahoo.com

    Thank you for doing this I appreciate the time you spent doing this.

  21. I am tears reading this… it is exactly what I have been looking for to combat the messages that my daughters here each day at school. There is much good they learn, but unfortunately, some teachers and leaders are confused. Thank you so much in advance! Please send information to:

  22. Thanks for sharing this idea and your insight on so many other things. I'd love to have this in my YW stash if ideas. Rachelalbertsen(at)gmail.com

  23. Wow! This sounds just like what my young women need. I would love more info! You have a beautiful family-thanks for sharing all your great ideas.
    jennyrencher at gmail dot com

  24. I have read your blog for years, and always come here for parenting inspiration. I would always subconsciously "skim" over the young women stuff. Well….I just got called as Young Women's President in my ward, and i can't even tell you how much I have started soaking in all this stuff too! Thank you for all you post and share, in every aspect of your life!


  25. Oh, this is such a good idea, I would love to do this for the start of the year. Luckily, I only have 9 girls… but it still seems daunting… could you please send me what was included in the packets? loyenling (at) hotmail (dot) com

  26. I never know what to comment. I'm not blessed with a skill for writing. But you must know what an impact you've had on me and my family. I often come to your blog looking for something and I always find it. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself. If it's not too late I would love to be included on the email. tracyhaws at gmail dot com…thank you in advance!!

  27. I would LOVE more information on this activity. Our YW really need it. And thank you for your blog. I am not a mother, but I hope to be someday (if nature lets me; I just turned 38). That said, I live my dreams of motherhood through you. Thanks for sharing all you do.

    Amy (amypoulson@gmail.com)

  28. Oh goodness, Shawni! I am #184 and yes I do want more info. I was just called as YW President in our ward a few months ago. A friend of mine told me about seeing this on your blog. She has a daughter who is moving up from Primary the first part of January, so she is already looking for stuff! Thanks for sharing this great idea. I look forward to hearing more!

  29. This is exactly what I'm looking for for my sweet young women! I can't believe that on top of all your amazing mothering, you're young women president, too! I only hope I can tap into some of that enegergy. Thank you!! jujuhallstrom at gmail.com

  30. I just finished listening to a Sheri Dew CD where she talked about doing this very same thing! So reading your blog was just another indication that it was time to do this! Please send me your more specific info….thanks!sujonz1@msn.com

  31. I'd love a copy! I'm a new YW president and would love to see what you did.
    P.S. We're kinda-sorta related…My sis-in-law and Noah's mom-in-law are sisters. Small world! I happened on your blog through one of the family blogs. Glad I found it!

  32. This is amazing! I would love to have the info as well. Thanks for being so willing to share!! I can only imagine the impact this had on your girls. What a blessing!!

    johnson.adrian1 at gmail.com

  33. I would love the email as well. Thank you so much for being willing to send this all out to us. My email is sarahegbert at gmail dot com. Thanks again!

  34. I love this idea and wonder why we haven't done something like this before. We have a lot of yw in our ward who I feel are struggling with this very concept. I would love to have a copy of the stories, etc. that you would be willing to share with me. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful idea! hysteria2483@gmail.com

  35. I would love to get more information on this whole idea! I have about 15 girls and they really could use this activity! I would love to have the information so we can also get it into the planning stages. My email is lynnel.springer at gmail.com. Thank you so very much!

    LynnEl – YW Pres in Champaign Illinois

  36. We have Presidency meeting Sunday and will bring this idea up to the Presidency. This is spot right on with letting them truly know they are loved by their Heavenly Father and Savior as well as we leaders.
    Love this post and would appreciate much the things you used to create such an inspirational message for your Young Women. We have 36 Young Women and I feel this would be such a testimony strength for them.
    Thanks so much for sharing! Looking forward to your email.

  37. Thank you so much for sharing your idea!! I would love a copy of what you put in the envelopes for the girls. I think this would be a great idea to do with the upcoming New Year! Thanks! crgochenour at gmail cot com

  38. I don't know if you're still checking the comments for this post, but I would love a copy of what went into each envelope. This week's lesson from the manual is actually titled "A Daughter of God." Thank you for sharing such a wonderful idea.


  39. What a beautiful idea! I am teaching the daughter of God lesson tomorrow and I really wish i had come across this sooner. i would love more info on what you had in the envelopes. My email is bonbon251@gmail.com. Thank you so much for sharing this idea.

  40. bless you for being such an inspiration to all of us readers! i was able to hear you speak at time out for women in virginia! way to go!

    i am planning my YW lesson on this very topic and would love any futher info. you have. littlebee5@hotmail.com

    thanks so much!

  41. bless you for being such an inspiration to all of us readers! i was able to hear you speak at time out for women in virginia! way to go!

    i am planning my YW lesson on this very topic and would love any futher info. you have. littlebee5@hotmail.com

    thanks so much!

  42. Ugh!! I hate to leave another comment because I know that you had sent me all the files that go with this great idea and I had them stored on my thumb drive but it was stolen a few weeks ago and I thought I still had the email but I can't find it anywhere!! Could you please resend the files to me? I would so greatly appreciate it! Hysteria2483@gmail.com

  43. Wow! I love how dedicated to the young women you are. I would love to try this in our ward. If you have time I would be thrilled to with anything you are able to send. Thank you so very much.

  44. Wow! I love how dedicated to the young women you are. I would love to try this in our ward. If you have time I would be thrilled to with anything you are able to send. Thank you so very much.

    1. See the link in pink at the end of this post…it will guide you to all the info. I have put online that I used to mail out to people.

  45. Hi! We are preparing for our girls camp and our theme is Daughter of a King. I loved your idea of the 7 envelopes and would love to know what you had on them. I tried the link you had at the end of the post but it didn’t work for me. Would it be possible to email it to me? My email is vivianbassette@gmail.com. I would really appreciate it! 😍

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