This covers the different roles of group members and what is expected of them.
They came out of my many years of being part of and of leading groups, everything from being a sorority Pledge Mistress to Camp Director to teaching Wicca 101 and 102 groups. Every group has things in common which can make or break a group.
Roles in a group:
Beginner – Entering a group can be a stressful thing. These people have developed a common language, jokes and rituals of worth to them and you don’t know any of them. This is a difficult and uncomfortable place to be. However, if you truly want to learn from them and what they know is of value to you, you will stay. Your role is to make a place for yourself. It is to listen to what they say and what they don’t say. It is to observe the group dynamic. It is to try to keep a sense of humor about yourself and to take yourself lightly. Be patient. Realize you can’t know everything now. Otherwise what would be the fun of learning new things?
Do they treat each other with love and respect? Would you like to be treated the way they treat each other?
Questions to ask yourself:
Do I like these people? Can I put up with all things I don’t know about them long enough to learn? Is this group worth my time and energy? After all your time is valuable too. Do I want what they have constructed for themselves? And will my behavior upset the balance?
What a beginner should be careful of doing:
Taking responsibility for others behavior. Remember the Rede if for no other reason that the only responsibility you have is for your own beliefs, feelings and actions. No one else’s. Do not caretake for other members. They are only responsible for and to themselves. Later they can worry about the group if that is the way the group normally behaves. If this is a study group, you are only responsible for what you are to learn not what others are learning or not learning.
Group members – Your have made a living entity which now exists. It is your group what ever name you call it, i.e. coven, circle, study group et cetera. Your group is now a living breathing thing that has a personality all its own. You have your own language, jokes, shorthand, and history. You all know that you are talking about. You care about each other and now you are being asked to grow, can you do it? Remember only to share what you feel comfortable sharing, be genuine and be honest.
Remember what it was like when you were new.
Questions to ask yourselves:
Who or what is this group? Do you like what you have created? Are ready to let other people enter? Can you be open enough to welcome people? How do you treat yourselves in front of others? How flexible are you? Do you want to be?
What a group member should be careful of doing:
Being a closed group while pretending to be open. Not sharing openly what you know and do not know. Not being welcoming but also not bending over backwards to help a new person if that behavior is not going to continue through the life of the group. Be careful of sharing too much information about the group unless appropriate to the situation. Beginners may not have enough background yet to see what you are truly saying. Are you ready to mentor someone? Do you want to?
Leaders: Your role is to facilitate the energy movement between new and old if appropriate. To teach the members the things on your agenda. To share what you know at the proper time. To not share what you know just because a group member is pushing to learn something, it may not be within her grasp yet; Or it may not be something she needs to know from you; Or may be something she must learn on her own. You are responsible for the material but you are not responsible for their learning process only they can do that. Take yourself lightly and keep a sense of humor about everything. You are going to need it. Be excited about teaching. Nurture the fledglings while letting your eaglets try their wings.
Questions for the Leader/teacher:
Are you ready to teach? Have you planned out as much as you can while trying to be flexible to the groups needs? Can you take step back and let the group go where it wills? Can you not caretake and be responsible for more than you need to be? Can you be a friend as well as mentor/teacher/leader? Can you be yourself?
What a leader should be careful of doing:
Caretaking individuals who are old enough to take care of themselves. Giving more information than the group is ready for. Getting a guru complex or taking yourself too seriously. Overwhelming your students and yourself with the tasks ahead.
We all have jobs to do in a group just be sensitive and aware and it will be fine. Above all love and communicate.