Earlier this week we began an interview with three Well-Read Mom group leaders. Here is the continuation of the discussion on the joys and difficulties of leading a WRM group.
Beth Nelson: What have some of the struggles been in leading a WRM group?
Megan Vera: Before our gatherings, I sometimes get a little nervous. I know that these ladies who attend are busy, tired mother, and I know that the time spent at our gatherings (8:00pm – 9:30pm) is a precious time slot that could be used as quality time with their husbands or catching up after a hectic day. I sometimes worry that I won’t be able to facilitate the discussions well and that some of the ladies will wonder if it was worth their evening. However, once we begin, the discussion takes off, and my “discussion-leading” skills become entirely unnecessary and irrelevant. I love how, after a few minutes, I’m able to slip into the background of the conversation and simply reflect on the perspectives of the other women.
Kristee Flynn: The only thing that comes to mind is the sadness I have felt when a member decides to quit. I can’t help but think of all the wonderful books and experiences she will miss out on. Not to mention the fact that I will truly miss our time together. Because I am so passionate about the positive effect Well-Read Mom has had on me, I want everyone to experience it as well.
Holly Peterson: Some of the longer books have been a challenge. Only one person from our group was able to finish The Odyssey, for example. If the book is esoteric or too academic then it is difficult to get the discussion rolling and we end up talking about tangential things instead.
MV: My favorite part of Well-Read Mom is getting to know the women themselves. This group of ladies is a powerhouse! In our group we have a university professor, an editor of an academic journal, a high school campus minister, a few musicians, a mom of four who runs her own Montessori school in her living room, a professional ballroom dancer, and at least fifty kids being raised among them all. Our conversations can get interesting when you have this many intelligent, talented, and holy women discussing great literature.
I’d like to point out, though, that Well-Read Mom has given us the tools to appreciate each other more fully. I have known many of these ladies for several years, but coming together to discuss these works of literature has revealed new sides of them to me. When we were chatting at baby showers or coordinating church potlucks, our reflections on the meaning of life just didn’t come up. Through Well-Read Mom I am able to see the depth of these women and witness that depth transfer over into other parts of my friendships with them. Now, when we bump into each other at the grocery story, we stop and share with one another passages we are reading that stir our hearts.
KF: I will speak specifically to my experience as a leader. I’m grateful that leading requires little time or effort. Marcie and her team have been invaluable in guiding leaders like myself by providing us with the necessary support to ensure success amongst their members. The Reading Companion with reflections and discussion questions, beautiful bookmark, and even the artwork chosen for each year all help us enter more deeply into each selection and monthly discussion. Furthermore, I find the audio introductions to be full of insight and wisdom. So being a leader is piece of cake. If only being a mother and wife were as easy.
HP: The friendships among the members have grown around our meetings, where we share in our love of discussing books. Our meetings to for at least two hours because half of the time we are catching up on family news, work situations, school and our parish. At each meeting the hostess prepares a snack for the evening that is made with great care and mindfulness. Even the tenderness and care with which each person prepares a snack is very moving to me!
If you are interested in taking the plunge and leading a Well-Read Mom group, visit our FAQs page with tons of resources to help you get started!