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Dare to Dream, Dare to Do

Cathy Harmon
Flower Mound TX USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 41 No. 1, February-March 2005, p. 6.

"I have a dream..." These well-known words from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous and stirring speech have always inspired me. What are your La Leche League dreams? Have you considered sharing them?

I encourage you to gather with your co-Leaders and share your hopes and dreams for your local Group as well as those for yourself as a Leader. This activity is particularly effective for Groups with three or more Leaders, or for Leaders in a Chapter. You may also want to include Leader Applicants, remembering that an Applicant cannot act in the name of LLL.

Choose a comfortable time and place for everyone, including babies and children, to meet. Serve light refreshments. Have a stack of note cards and a pen or pencil for everyone. A place to post the dreams, such as a small bulletin board or poster board, will also be helpful.

Begin by asking each Leader to write down one or two short-term goals she has for the Group (or Chapter). A short-term goal might be achieved within a year. List only one goal per card. Examples of short term goals include to collect a membership at the next meeting; to improve publicity for Series Meetings; or to gather regularly for Enrichment Meetings. On a different card, suggest that Leaders write down a hope—something they may have said in the past with a sigh: "Gee, I wish we could...."

Then, ask each Leader to list her dreams for La Leche League. These dreams may relate to LLL locally, personally, or even internationally. Perhaps her dreams might include submitting an article for the Area Leaders’ Letter; doing outreach at the local high school; and traveling to the next LLLI Conference. Encourage her to put her dreams on a note card, no matter how huge or impossible they may seem. As during brainstorming sessions, all ideas are valid.

Collect all the cards and post them on the left-hand side of a bulletin board. It is exciting to see that you and your co-Leaders may secretly share some of the exact same goals! And how thrilling to find a new idea or direction for your LLL Group or Chapter!

Then, ask if working on any of the posted goals or dreams is appealing to anyone. Individuals or pairs can accept the responsibility. Big dreams most certainly can be subdivided into "mother-sized" pieces. Write the interested Leaders’ names on the appropriate card and move the card to the right-hand side of the bulletin board.

It’s okay if all of the cards are not chosen. There is no pressure on any Leader to add to her LLL responsibility, nor is it necessary to see that all the goals are attained. But what you may be surprised to discover is that when a Leader realizes that someone else has the same hopes and dreams for the Group or LLL, she is inspired to spend time and energy on that dream!

The Leaders then make their own plans to implement the goal, including whatever timeframe will work for them. This portion of the gathering, when Leaders are chatting in pairs, may be quite noisy! Enjoy the enthusiasm and excitement!

In about a year, meet again to take stock, celebrate accomplishments, and elicit more goals and dreams for the next year. You might open the meeting by recognizing the dreams that have become a reality in the past year. Then, clear your bulletin board (or bring a new poster board) for the coming year’s dreams, and be sure to have plenty of blank note cards!

Getting together annually to discuss goals and dreams helps Leaders stay connected, active, and excited about LLL work. It is important to share and acknowledge our many LLL successes and accomplishments, as we sometimes underestimate the impact of our mother-to-mother helping.

You and your co-Leaders may be delighted and surprised at how many LLL dreams really do come true.

A Leader since June of 1989, Cathy Harmon has held the positions of Chapter Leader, Associate Coordinator for Leader Accreditation, and District Advisor. She currently serves as Area Communications Skills Development Coordinator for Texas LLL, USA. Her husband, Willy, and their sons, ages 17 and 10, support and encourage her LLL activities. She says, "The heart of LLL, to me, is our interactions with mothers, both in one-to-one phone conversations and at Series Meetings." Please send your ideas and articles for this column to Nancy Spahr at 174 E. Main St., Peru, Indiana 46970 USA; fax to 765-472-3889; or write to NSpahr at llli.org (email).

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