However, my 'happy bubble' was burst a few days later when I was making some calls. One family that hadn't attended in a while emphatically informed me that they had never felt at home or in fellowship with our group, they didn't like the different religious views, and they were opposed to some of the homeschool philosophies in the group. I was a little stunned, but continued to talk with this lady to investigate the root of these struggles.
What do you do in times like these? How do you deal with your feelings inside when confronted like this?
- First, you don't take it personally. I know, it's very difficult! I had to swallow a couple of times, send a prayer-flare, and focus on trying to learn from the problem instead of internalizing it.
- Then ask a few clarifying questions while you settle your feelings and get a handle on the true cause of the discontent. I started with the fellowship, asking her to describe when she felt left out. Ended up it was on a FYI field trip where everyone took their families through the displays on their own. It was a misconception about the type of field trip. Then I tackled the religious view differences and the homeschool philosophies that she had encountered.
- As we discussed each one, I realized that most of these were things that I couldn't change her mind on. At that point, I just reassured her of her welcome, pointed out a couple of things to counter her viewpoint, and let her go.
- Yes, I ended it. I wished her well, telling her I hoped she would find a perfect fellowship for her and her son. Sometimes that is the best policy. Don't beg them to stay, or try to fix it perfectly. Let them go with genuine care and kindness.
- Next, realize what you can learn and improve. Put your energy into doing what you truly can do. Nurture the strengths of the group. Follow your God-given goals for the group and the purpose of your homeschool group.
- Remember, you can't please everyone, so again, don't take it personally!
- Oh, and yeah. . . . focus on the compliment again! Look at all the families that ARE receiving strength from your group. You are doing a great service! Your ministering IS making a difference.