We La Leche League Leaders now have so many new and interesting tools thanks to computers, cell phones, electronic readers, the Internet, and so on and so on.
When I was asked to give a presentation to last year’s Leader Retreat about the tools of group management, I felt overwhelmed. There are now so many implements at our disposal. I thought, “Where do I start with such a presentation?”
I started making lists of tools. I looked up the definition of tool in the dictionary. I looked in the Leader’s Handbook for information about group management.
As we all know, the tool depends upon the task. The Leader’s Handbook states on page 83 that we need to keep in mind the group’s goal: helping mothers breastfeed.
That’s the task: helping mothers breastfeed.
Mothers receive help with breastfeeding because LLL Leaders and Groups do these four things: we communicate, we organize, we perpetuate, and we educate.
I call this The Four Commandments of Group Management or C.O.P.E.
Have you ever thought that LLL is too much work -- phone calls, meetings, conferences, and more? Years ago when I was overwhelmed with caring for a young family, I considered giving up La Leche League. There were not enough hours in the day. About that time I attended a conference where I heard a board member talk about “becoming organized.” She said that her League activities and her life became much more manageable because she learned to use organization skills. I was desperate and so I started to get organized. I read Deniece Schofield’s book Confessions of an Organized Homemaker and it changed my life! I found more time to give to La Leche League, to my family, and to myself.
You can’t help anyone if you’re not communicating effectively. We in LLL have a wonderful resource provided by the Communication Skills Department. Consider contacting your local instructor and plan a communication skills workshop in your area. You’ll be amazed at how much more helpful you can be to a mother (or anyone else) when you learn to listen actively, offer empathy, and give information in a way that helps a woman to grow in her mothering.
The world desperately needs La Leche League Leaders. Perpetuate thyself! You may be finished having children, but you are never finished giving birth to new leaders. Do you have regular evaluation meetings? These meetings are a great place to give life to a Leader Applicant. Being invited to an evaluation meeting is affirming for a new mother. It helps her to overcome the isolation of new motherhood and to get to know LLL on a deeper level.
Good mothering through breastfeeding never changes, but the ways in which we support the mother can change. We need to keep up. When is the last time you made it to a LLL conference or Leader Retreat, or read your Leaven magazine, or attended a Leader Development Seminar? These are valuable education tools that are offered to Leaders.
So go ahead and use the helpful new tools of our technological age. Just remember to obey the Four Commandments of Group Management:
COMMUNICATE ORGANIZE PERPETUATE EDUCATE
Kitchen phone: Sean Dreilinger
Mommy group: Gerardo Porras
Mother and baby: ECohen