Seeing Mothers as Potential Applicants
Mariana de Petersen
Guatemala City Guatemala
Translated by Alison Velasco
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 41 No. 4, August-September 2005, p. 91.
When we were Leader Applicants, we agreed with the five Leader responsibilities. Sometimes we seem to forget that LLL will continue to exist only as long as we are constantly "seeing" each mother that we have contact with as a potential Leader.
When a mother calls me, I listen to her feelings, her doubts, and her fears. I show her empathy and I give her all the information that I have on hand. I treat each mother like the "queen of the day," not only by giving her information and support, but also by showing her warmth and understanding.
Why am I writing about this? The reason is that the more I learn from the Leader Accreditation Department, the easier it is for me to see each mother as a potential Leader Applicant!
I want to tell you something daring that I did one day. A mother called me, asking about information on how to wean her two-year-old. She lives in a city three hours from the capital, so it is hard for her to make it to a monthly meeting. As we continued to talk, I was able to grasp the kind of woman she is and her mothering style. I was daring, and I said to her, "You have so much mothering experience and knowledge about breastfeeding. Have you ever thought about sharing this with other mothers? Would you like to learn more about how La Leche League works?" She immediately felt recognized and appreciated. She realized that what she knows is very valuable!
We agreed that one of her relatives would drop by my house to pay her membership dues and to buy a copy of THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING for her. I put her on the membership list in order to email her up-to-date information and I sent her some information on weaning.
Before saying goodbye, we planned that she would read THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING and in two or three months we would get in touch again to see if she could attend one of the Groups that I lead. This would be my opportunity to see how she related to her son and then maybe officially invite her to become a Leader Applicant.
All this happened 10 months ago and now the mother from that phone call is ready to have her Preview! This "daringness" allowed me to get to know a beautiful mother. And because of her, LLL will now be reaching mothers in another geographical location.
I want to invite you to be daring, to be visionaries, and to be committed to your work as Leaders because, most of the time, you will win! LLL as an organization will win and each of our countries/regions wins with another volunteer, who in turn is willing to help other mothers find out about leadership.
Thanks to each and every one of you for belonging to La Leche League, and for the work that you perform as you help Applicants prepare for leadership.
Send ideas for "Preparing for Leadership" to Gina Gerboth at 828 Beulah Ave., Pueblo CO 81004 USA, or by email at ginapueblo at gmail dot com. Special thanks to retiring Contributing Editor Monique Kitts for her reliability and dedication to this column.