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Weaving a Story

LLLI Board of Directors:
Welda Hoerz
Chair, Global Structures Committee
Cynthia Sherar
Chair, Program Services Committee

From: LEAVEN, Vol. 36 No. 6, December 2000-January 2001, p. 115

When I recently visited the Minneapolis Art Institute, the docent pointed out two very large tapestries hanging on the wall. Each was incredibly intricate and, as she explained, took nearly 20 years to complete. My students and I marveled at the detail depicted in each of these works of art from the Middle Ages. One showed scholars in a splendid room with books and maps and beautiful scenery in the windows behind them. The other was an outdoor scene showing several riders out on horseback in the woods with a large castle in the background.

La Leche League is much like these tapestries. Leaders around the world are the "threads of LLL" which, all woven together, create a colorful and richly textured tapestry. How wonderful it would be if everyone could see this intricate tapestry of what Leaders around the world are doing to help mothers and babies and to promote breastfeeding and LLL! The LLLI Board of Directors cordially invites you to contribute your story!

Two LLLI committees are working jointly toward this end. The Program Services Committee is facilitating talks on Leader Roles in which Leaders are encouraged to start conversation circles about the things we do as Leaders to further the LLLI mission.

The Global Structures Committee is picking up the Leader Roles thread to add more stitches in our global tapestry and asking Leaders to submit their personal stories. In addition, this committee is looking at ways the organization is helping you as a Leader to do these things. Imagine that you are sitting in a circle of a huge global Series Meeting and the Leader has asked you to share your experiences from your part of the world with the rest of the LLL Leaders present.

  • Tell us the story of how you support breastfeeding mothers. In what other ways do Leaders in your country or Area spread the word about breastfeeding and mother-to-mother support? (Or you may wish to answer this question via a Leader Roles conversation.)
  • If anything were possible, how could you imagine or expect to be served by the organization LLLI* in order to do the job you want to do? (Pretend there are no human or financial restraints.)
  • How does the organization LLLI* serve you, so that you can do the job you want to do? Please elaborate.
  • If the organization LLLI* is not serving you at this time, how could it?

The first question, as noted, is very similar to those asked as part of Leader Roles. Those interested in holding a conversation circle can print suggestions directly from the web site. These conversation starters are intended to be used at Chapter meetings, Area Council meetings, Leader workshops, Area Conferences, and in any of your LLL email groups.

Telling your story is an opportunity to brag a little and share good ideas with others - in many languages! While reports and statistics present a picture of what Leaders are doing at a given time and place - and are very helpful for planning - the stories behind the numbers add color and depth to the picture. When we share our stories about how we help mothers breastfeed their babies, the ways we work together as an organization, and what our dreams for the future are, we are blending the many threads of our LLL culture into a tapestry that presents a rich picture of who we are, what we do, and what we can become.

The stories Leaders share will be passed on in some traditional ways such as LEAVEN and in Area Leader's Letter articles, as well as on web sites and in email discussions. We want to make these stories available for you to use in your part of the world and we are seeking creative ways we can work together and share with as many Leaders as possible.

What beautiful and fascinating diversity there is in the way LLL Leaders work and how we accomplish our mission. We want everyone in LLLI to know about it! In the course of such sharing, our internationalism shines through. Your stories and answers from all around the world will weave a more global picture of LLLI that will enrich each of us.

[ * Editor's Note: By "the organization LLLI" we mean the whole organization - with all or any of its parts, for example, your Area, Affiliate, Division, the LLLI Board of Directors, or the LLLI office in Schaumburg, Illinois, USA.]

An article about "Conversations on the Roles of Leaders" can be found in the Feb-Mar 2000 issue of Leaven. Information about starting your own Leader Roles conversation is also available in English, French, German, and Spanish on the LLLI Leader web pages.

Send your story and/or the answers to the above questions **in the language you prefer** to:

Welda Hörz, Bechtolsheimstr. 4, 80999 Munich GERMANY; email (welda at csi.com)

Mimi de Maza, 16 Calle 14-39 Zona 10, Ciudad de Guatemala 01010, GUATEMALA; email (lll at guate.net)

Esmé Nel, PO Box 57, Wolsley 6830, Republic of South Africa; email(mariliett at intekom.co.za)

If you are interested in being a member of the work group to help collect and share these stories, also contact Welda Hörz (welda at csi.com)

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