I enjoyed Andrea's dissection of the ways women feel unequal, and I pretty much agree across the board about the ones I see as places we could do better, vs. the ones I think are just sort of . . . weird. I've also been thinking a lot about Kelly's point about the boys starting priesthood responsibilities when they're 12 (home teaching etc.). I'd never thought about that before, but I agree, it would be awesome if there were some similar process for young girls turning 12. Then maybe we wouldn't have to focus so much on helping them "feel comfortable" in RS when they are 17-18, because they would have been slowly taking on responsibilities since they were 12! Really interesting. I think I might even bring this up in Ward Council and see what others think. (I LOVE our ward council; they are awesome!)
I was thinking about why it wasn't already like that, and I thought maybe one reason is that the dads aren't around/home as often to be showing their boys what the priesthood should do---like, the home teaching assignments help force them to be an example there? Whereas the women, ideally, would be around their daughters all day---already having them help take meals around, showing them how to show charity as a RS sister, etc. I remember helping my mom take meals to a lady in our ward with MS, every week for years---I helped her cook and take the meals almost always. So I guess maybe that might be why there is no program in place already? But I still think (especially now, when many women aren't/can't be around their daughters all day any more than the dads are with sons!) it would be valuable to have something "official" in place.
The other thought I had is that visiting teaching is more about personal woman-to-woman talks, whereas hometeaching is more like, checking on the whole family, more formally----so, would that intimacy be hampered by taking your 12-year-old along? And, if you had to wait for your daughters to get home from school so they could go with you to do VT, then does it allow for the during-the-day visits that really allow women to share feelings, unrestrained by children/husbands being around? (Not that any of us homeschoolers have those kinds of visits anyway . . . or with young kids . . . ). I don't know. What other "RS" responsibilities do you think the YW could have at an earlier age? I'm curious what kinds of things you were thinking of.