[oh I can only imagine the spammy comments that title will generate]
Tonight I met with a reading group for the Saskatoon Secular Family Network that I help facilitate. There were only 6 of us (2 of them being under 4), but we had a great time of connecting and sharing ideas/miseries associated with being parents. Times like these really charge me up, and confirm for me the passions I have for building smaller communities in the larger atheist/freethinking/skeptic movement.
Right now I facilitate 3 groups/sub-communities in Saskatoon:
It’s funny how each of these groups reflect a passion of mine: family, (rejected) faith, and feminism!
When I first started up the SSFN, the first meeting we had had a turnout of over 20 people! I remember being stunned at how seemingly-popular this group already was, after only its FIRST meeting. But as cool its first turnout was, though, I really think that it derailed me in my “mission” (for lack of a better term) in establishing these smaller communities in the larger movement.
After such a high turnout, I spent the next several months feeling bad that each consecutive meeting would have lower numbers — I started questioning myself, as if the reason people were staying away was because of something I had said/did in leading these meetings. Looking back on those first few formative months of the SSFN, I can still feel the frustration and uncertainty.
Thankfully I smartened up, and realized that my perspective was ALL WRONG. It wasn’t about hosting “big events,” with monthly themed talks and the like. The *point* of a secular parenting group is to find support among other parents and family members who are choosing similar parenting approaches.
Since that ah-ha moment, it’s like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’m just as happy with a turnout of 5 as I am with one of 50 (though it does help to know ahead of time the 50ish turnouts!). I recognize that there are amazing connections to be made in the smaller meetings that could never happen in a larger crowd.
I’m where I need to be.