by Rebecca Kocsis
Not so long ago one of the freeways near me was undergoing construction—major construction—for a couple of years. Because it was a major freeway it was a frustrating and painful experience for any of us trying to navigate from one part of town to the other. It seemed like rush hour traffic all day long—one continuous traffic snarl.
More than once, I’d try to plot a course around it on surface streets. Apparently, I was not the only one and would creep along there, too. It was inevitable that I would also run into other detours which only put me farther afield from my destination. Ultimately, I determined trying to avoid the snarl only resulted in making me late and frustrated. I was better off jumping on the freeway and dealing with the bumper to bumper traffic.
Parallels to Leading
There are parallels here to leading a homeschool group. How often we go to great lengths to avoid uncomfortable situations only to find the longer we avoid it the worse things get?
- There’s the member who is perpetually discontented and grumbles and complains to everybody but you. It doesn’t matter what you do, they aren’t happy.
- The member with unrealistic expectations. Sad to say, no matter how hard we try to make sure our group is a good fit for the families we enroll, sometimes we aren’t. We can’t be everything to everyone. “Sorry, Mrs. Smith. I don’t know why you thought there would be clowns and a circus at park day …”
- That member who is somehow above the rules. You make exception after exception, thinking they will eventually “get it” and get with the program. In truth, they have no intention of getting with the program. Why? They’ve already got their own custom made program within yours.
Very often the people we serve have no idea what it’s like to lead a group. They are oblivious to how their behavior affects others. Sadly, there are those who don’t care. They paid their membership dues. They feel entitled to what they want. It’s their world and the rest of us are living in it.
Yes, we are supposed to do what we can to get along with people, “If it be possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:18 NKJV) However, I don’t believe it is to be at the expense of order and peace within your group. We serve a God of order and peace. (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40)
The longer you wait to deal with these snarls the worse the situation will get. Frustrations will compound. Conflicts will be more likely to arise. In the end it will be more difficult to bring peace and order back into your group.
Are you going to great lengths to avoid what you know will be an uncomfortable situation? Are you avoiding an awkward conversation? That’s called procrastination, by the way. Are you making little exceptions instead of little corrections? Like my traffic experience, you are only avoiding the inevitable.
Bringing circumstances into order early on before you’ve lost your patience and your love has been sorely tested will be worth it. No one enjoys having to be the one to bring correction. And it’s humbling. We know we have not been above receiving correction ourselves.
The Peaceable Fruit of Righteousness
“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11 NKJV)
Ultimately, this discipline will bring the peaceable fruit of righteousness, both for that one who receives the correction and also in your group. Isn’t that what you really want? With that promise in mind, go ahead and deal with it. You’re only attempting to avoid the unavoidable. Jump on that freeway!