Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday Five: Groups

The RevGalBlogPal Friday Five, about groups!

1. Tell us about any group(s) you currently belong to. (e.g. book club, knitting circle, walking buddies, etc.)

I belong to my local chapter of MOMS Club, a nonsectarian organization for at-home moms that offers activities during the day at which our kids are always welcome. My MOMS Club chapter has been a great bonus in my life these last seven years here in Oklahoma. Though now my kids are too old for playgroups and most of the outings, I'm a faithful participant in the monthly frugal group and garden group to see friends and talk about those topics. We sometimes make it to an outing or the after-school playgroup or the moms night out (just for moms) as well.

I also participate in a nonfiction book club with a wonderful set of women, some of whom I already counted among my very good friends locally. We started a year ago and meet monthly, reading some pretty interesting books. I love being able to discuss and argue and discuss further the various topics brought up by the books and that emerge in our conversation. We eat great food, too!

Here's another group, I think: my Daughters of the King chapter at my church. We meet monthly throughout the program year (Sept-May), and this is the most age-diverse of my groups. I'm the youngest member, I think, at 43, and a bunch of our members are in their 70s and 80s. It has been an amazing experience to be part of this group of praying women. At each meeting we go over our ongoing ministries in the parish and other things, we discuss part of a book we're reading all year (on some aspect of spiritual life related to prayer), and we pray through our prayer list. It is also a microcosm of the church and the Church, with personalities, histories, expectations, and lots of love, sometimes not obvious but it's there anyway. This group is totally different from anything else I do and it focuses on things that are important to me but that I tend to neglect; that's pretty much exactly why I joined the Daughters of the King.

2. Do you feel energized or drained by being in a group situation? If the answer is "it depends," on what does it depend?

It depends! If I know everyone fairly well, I can be sparkly or chatty and have a great time. If I know some people well and others are new, I can be the welcomer and orientation person (!). If I don't know anyone but my husband, I try to make conversation with folks and I do okay. If I don't know a soul but have a reason for being there, I manage to converse and keep busy for a couple of hours and then suddenly get really tired, abandon hope, and drag myself home (e.g., my 25th high school reunion a year ago, sigh).

3. Is there a role you naturally find yourself playing in group situations? That is, do you naturally fall into the leader role, or the one who always makes sure the new person feels welcome, or the quiet one who sits back and lets others shine, or the host?

See my answer to No. 2...

4. Handshakes vs. hugs: discuss.

Hugs with people who are good friends. Otherwise, here's my friendly handshake and grin.

5. Ice breakers: a playful way to build community in a lighthearted manner, or a complete and utter hell of forced fun and awkwardness? Bonus : If you answered "playful and lighthearted," share your favorite ice breaker.

It ALL depends on the situation. Really. And the leader(s), but the situation makes or breaks it.

The best MOMS Club icebreaker ever was when we had a lot of new members and someone on the sly prepared a bingo-style grid for us to try to fill out. Mom who drives a compact car. A van. Who has worked construction. Who has worked as a teacher. Who has lived here 2 months. 2 years. 10 years. Born here. Lived in 4 states. Never left this state. Who has twins. Five kids. Is a pharmacist. Sells Tupperware. Etc. (There was a person for every option, due to the sly preparation.) Very fun!

1 comment:

Cathy said...

Nice to meet another DOK person on the blogosphere! I am a member of 2 bookclubs, one at church and one outside of church. Wish one was strictly nonfiction - since I gravitate towards that!