Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Support Group Leaders Need Your Support

April 10, 2007

I am not a support group leader anymore. For four years, I poured hours and hours each week--physically, mentally, and emotionally--into serving our support group. A year ago I gave my notice and then stepped off the board at the first of August (the beginning of our new year). I began as the newsletter editor/communications coordinator and ended as a communications support person and as part of the enrichment class team.

Our group's mission has always been to support and encourage area homeschooling families in various ways. But keeping one's eyes on the mission is difficult in the midst of dissension. And there is nearly always dissension. Homeschoolers are an independent and opinionated lot in general. Some are downright difficult. Right now I am heavy with empathy as our leadership struggles with rumors and hearsay. What is so difficult about being in leadership is that you just can't tell "the whole story" without airing "the victim's" (and I say that with very large quotes around the word) dirty laundry. You have to trust the Lord that all secrets will be revealed in their own time, and that the Truth will prevail. Phew. That is hard to do when your name is being dragged through the red clay. Even if only a couple of people are doing the dragging.

But here's what pulls a leader through: the sweet voices of encouragement. It is in our nature as humans to dwell on those tiny out-of-tune soloists of criticism while ignoring the choir of support. Isn't that crazy? And here is my message to anyone who belongs to a support group: let your leaders know you appreciate them. Send them emails. Tell them how important the group is to them. Don't buy into the rumors you might hear circulating, and by all means, don't participate in the speculation that stems from such situations. Chances are that most members have no idea of the dramas that go on, because I have seen gentle, kind-hearted women take a verbal beating and go on to plan classes or prepare an upcoming seminar with smiles on their faces. Don't forget to pray for your leaders. And if you have something you can add to a group--and everyone does--don't hesitate to offer. There is nothing more encouraging to a leader that these two phrases: "Thank you!" and "How can I help?"

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