From: LEAVEN, Vol. 27 No. 2, March-April 1991, p. 27
Leader Recommendations. . . Have you wondered why we need them? Your recommendation will enable the Leader Accreditation Department to begin the application with the new Leader Applicant. It is our introduction to this special mother you have been preparing for Leadership. Only you can share your discussions on La Leche League philosophy and how she participates and helps at meetings. The A/CLA with whom she is corresponding will then get better acquainted with her through her Personal History.
In looking at the Recommendation Form that is included in the Leader Applicant Packet, you will see several questions asking what you have done with the mother to help prepare her for leadership. "Have you taken the opportunity to discuss LLL philosophy with her as summarized in the concept statements?" and "Has she been reliable and conscientious about performing a Group job?" are two such questions. Often we receive very general answers, such as "Yes, we discussed it, and she agrees," or "Yes, she does the job." This does not really tell us enough about the Leader Applicant. I would like to share some quotes from Leader recommendations that gave us specific and helpful information. We were then better able to prepare the Leader Applicant.
A Leader wrote, "Supplements were a problem with her first two, as they were slow gainers. She really tried hard with her third baby and learned as much as she could about slow gaining babies before he was born. She made it to the middle of the first year without starting solids--and no supplements!" Another said, "One area in which I feel she is particularly strong is her wanting to be with her children and meeting their needs." Another relates, "She is active in our food co-op. I think this is an example of her dedication to good foods for her family."
These comments help us to know that the Applicant agrees with LLL philosophy and practices it. Sometimes a Leader may feel that a mother needs to have a fuller understanding of LLL philosophy. This also needs to he shared with us. Here is an example: "You get the impression that her children are a real burden and no fun. I have never seen her spank them, it's just that she gives them lots of negative messages. Perhaps she is worried that the children's behavior reflects poorly on her. On the other hand, I see she is working on this. I know she admires other mothers who are patient and loving and accepting." What these Leaders shared helped me work with this Leader Applicant. The Applicant may have no fundamental disagreement with LLL, but she needs continued encouragement and support, which both her Leaders and her A/CLA can give her during the application.
We need to know how the Applicant comes across at meetings. These are some helpful quotes: "She has many ideas and is sincere with her ideas and help; she has a sixth sense when it comes to mothers." "She knows the correct terminology, but doesn't make things sound complex. She could help tone down an offensive remark. . ."
Many Leaders find it beneficial to write down what they already know about the potential Applicant before they sit down to discuss LLL philosophy with her. Then they use the discussions to supplement what they already know. In this way, they can fill out the Leader Recommendation Form more completely. Some recommendations come to us written out as a letter rather than on the form. The important point is to spend time preparing the mother before she actually applies. You will then be able to say, as one Leader did, "She would make a great Leader. Besides all the qualities mentioned above, she is reliable, well informed, and very straightforward! I would feel comfortable having her lead a meeting tomorrow!" Such a statement about an Applicant indicates a thorough job of preparation and evaluation. She will proceed with her application, as you continue to share with her, and soon you will be co-leading.