Spring–it is a season of growth and rebirth; it is a time when plants, long dormant, awaken and bloom. Spring ushers in the bountiful days of summer, but spring is also known for its storms. Spring storms can have a wide range of severity. Some storms can be brutal and leave behind devastation and ruin while other storms are short lived and leave only rain-washed skies and much-needed moisture.
Home school support groups can also pass through various seasons, and eventually most groups must weather the storms of spring. While we may not have any control over the weather, there are some things leaders can do to help lessen the severity of the storms that may threaten our group.
When groups are not directly in the midst of a conflict, leaders rarely want to address the unpleasant topic of dealing with conflict, but learning how to deal with conflict is an important skill for all leaders, and seasons of peace may be the best time to train leaders in conflict resolution and peacemaking. In fact, there are many aspects of general leadership training and team building that although they are not directly related to conflict resolution, can help reduce conflict and build a strong leadership team that is better equipped to handle the storms that life may bring. Leaders should consider that even just a small amount of time invested into training not only for themselves, but also for those under them could be one of their most valuable contributions to the group. There are many great resources available to leaders, and a quick Internet search will produce several. THSC also has several resources available just for support group leaders.
Although some conflicts may catch us by surprise, leaders can become weather watchers and anticipate oncoming storms and thereby reduce the damage these storms may cause by preparing for them at their earliest onset. Spring is a season of new growth, and new growth can give birth to new ideas, and both new growth and new ideas can indicate your group is in a season of spring, so watch for storms. Tender young plants do not often have the ability to weather storms like established plants, so it is important to shelter them from the harsh elements until they have had a chance to establish roots. The same can be true when choosing new leaders, so give new members a chance to become well established in the group before asking them to take on the responsibility of leadership. At the same time, leaders should keep in mind that new growth will also bring its own uniqueness, and it is important to make room for that new growth so that it has a chance to establish itself and isn’t completely squelched by the existing foliage. Leaders should guard against becoming so set and established that they are not open to new ideas–especially from younger members of the group.
While some degree of conflict or differing opinions may be as unavoidable as spring rain, it is possible to help prepare your leadership team for those spring storms and thereby avoid the destruction that they may cause, reaping only the benefits of a spring rain in new character growth, new blooms, and strengthened roots.