Using LLL Publications to Enliven Meetings
by Laura Cunningham
Mission Viejo, California, USA
from LEAVEN, Vol. 33 No. 2, April - May 1997, p. 33
When you're pressed for time, you may wish that a ready-made meeting outline would appear with the snap of your fingers. Although that is wishful thinking, help may be no farther away than your table or bookshelf. Two Leaders found creative ways to use NEW BEGINNINGS and THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING.
For Lynne Coates of Eugene, Oregon, USA finding fresh, interesting topics for Enrichment Meetings was becoming troublesome. Then, just in time, NEW BEGINNINGS arrived in her mail and she decided to use the magazine to shape the meeting discussion.
Lynne chose one of the situations in a regular question-and-answer column ("Toddler Tips," "Making It Work," "Staying Home Instead") and asked mothers how they would respond. Lynne and her co-Leader, Sue Scott, talked about what a Leader might ask a mother who called with a similar situation as well as the LLL resources she might use.
"This served the double purpose of encouraging discussion and letting our Group helpers know more about how Leaders help mothers," wrote Lynne in Patchwork Page, Fall 1995.
If discussion is especially rich, the Group's responses can be written down and sent to NEW BEGINNINGS for possible publication. "What a thrill it would be to see the Group's ideas published!" said Lynne.
In addition to providing an "instant meeting" idea, Lynne and Sue found that using NEW BEGINNINGS in Enrichment Meetings produced two other benefits:
- Enthusiasm increased at Series Meetings when NEW BEGINNINGS was mentioned as a benefit of membership. "Non-members can see the excitement others feel about receiving our magazine," Lynne said.
- A review of the current topics in NEW BEGINNINGS helps Leaders who no longer have nursing babies stay focused on questions important to new mothers.
The Quotable WAB
When planning a meeting on "The Advantages of Breastfeeding to Mother and Baby," Beverly Vaugh of Austin, Texas, USA turned to THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING (WAB). She and her co-Leaders found about 20 quotes illustrating the advantages of breastfeeding. They wrote each on a separate piece of paper and added a discussion question.
For example, the quote on page 8:
When you breastfeed your baby, you're providing him with the best possible infant food. No product has ever been as time-tested as mother's milk. Breast milk contains all the nutrients your newborn needs and is more easily digested and assimilated than any other infant food. As reassuring as this is, superior nutrition is only one of the many advantages you and your baby gain from breastfeeding.
might be followed with the question:
What advantage of breastfeeding has been important to you?
At the meeting, Beverly briefly explained how THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING is an important resource for Leaders, mothers and anyone needing accurate, supportive information on breastfeeding. Mothers were then invited to read aloud one of the quotations and corresponding discussion questions. A few of the quotations that were especially important to the meeting topic were marked with stickers so that they would be sure to be included in the discussion. But participation was voluntary and the meeting proceeded in a free-flowing conversational style.
"One nice aspect of this meeting idea," wrote Beverly in Ten-Gallon Tidings, Summer Fall 1994, "was that, although we did add clarifying statements once in a while, no one Leader had to do a lot of talking and explaining since the mothers themselves were reading the quotes and discussion questions."
Of course, using THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING in this way is not limited to an "advantages" meeting. Search Chapters 4, 5, 6, 10, 11 and 12 for quotations applicable to Meeting 2. Chapters l3-l5 for Meeting 4. Chapter 7 is a wealth of information for Meeting 3.
After trying these meeting
ideas, you are bound to find other LLL publications that can be used
in similar ways. As a related benefit, you just might find that both
book and membership sales increase. So take those books and magazines
off the shelf, dust them off and make them part of your meetings!