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Levels of Commitment

Amy Eidershink
Mars, Pennsylvania, USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 36 No. 2, April-May 2000, p. 24

Have you been thinking about your commitment to La Leche League and about how it may be greater or less than other Leaders' commitments? Perhaps you have noticed that La Leche League has taken a different place in your life or, as you consider the women with whom you regularly share La Leche League, you notice how their commitments differ from yours and from each other. Does it worry you? Does it make you wonder just how your contribution fits in?

For example, when you look at your co-Leader, you may see a woman who had her fifth baby a few months ago. She's been a Leader for five years, worked on Area Conferences, attended LLLI conferences and various workshops, etc. She is enthusiastic about phone calls, monthly calls, monthly meetings, and her District Advisor position. She drives 35 minutes with at least three children in tow for meetings. Her energy seems boundless.

The Group's Leader Applicant has a toddler and an infant. She is warm and friendly and a positive example of mothering through breastfeeding. She started a playgroup, is the Group Treasurer, and has invented a wonderful bookshare program to update and increase the Group Library. Last year she was the chairwoman for the World Walk for Breastfeeding. She attends other Groups' meetings and has attended the Area Conference and LLLI Conference as well. She has tremendous enthusiasm and excitement for La Leche League.

The Area CLA is a very busy woman. She is talented, inspired, and committed to the Leader Accreditation Department (LAD). She leads monthly meetings, works closely with the Area council, attends and learns from all kinds of LLL functions, and does a wonderful job with the LAD. She also is mother to two sons.

You may feel your commitment is at a totally different level than any of these women. After being a Leader for a number of years, you find yourself gathering meeting things the morning of the meeting. You are content with the Group the way it is. You are no longer interested in making visual aids for meetings, reading every new Group library book, seeking out opportunities to speak about LLL, or taking brochures to area physicians. These are all things that you have done at other times. On the other hand, you still enjoy meetings and love it when new mothers attend. You adore seeing healthy nurslings nestled in slings, sharing your ideas with other mothers, noticing mothers gaining confidence, and hearing their success stories.

Your children are growing older and your family is involved in church, sports, and school. The baby is no longer a nursling. You actually sleep at night (most of the time ...). Your parenting remains rooted in loving guidance, and you nurture and respect your children. Perhaps you no longer screen food as closely as you used to. You're just happy that the family can eat together on a nightly basis.

Does this mean that you are less committed to La Leche League? Are you less effective as a Leader? Can new mothers sense that you are not as consumed by needing support from others? Is it possible that you no longer have a place in the organization?

No! Your commitment remains strong in a different way. You have a different level of involvement than you used to have. While LLL is an integral part of your life and always will be, you don't find yourself wishing that meetings were weekly instead of monthly. You can accept the fact that you are fulfilling the basic responsibilities of leadership. You no longer have the time or motivation to seek out extra ways to participate in LLL. As a Leader, you are committed to supporting and informing the women whom you meet. The various levels of commitment of your co-Leaders and other LLL women who surround you are what allow you to stay active. We fill in the gaps for each other.

Mothers come to us with different levels of commitment to breastfeeding. Whether they breastfeed solely or supplement, wean at one month, six months, or three years, we accept and encourage them. We do the same for our fellow Leaders. Things may change in our lives, and so may our level of involvement to La Leche League. In the meantime, know that you are still contributing and be glad.

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