I’ve lost count of the number of different homeschool groups I have been a part of over the past 13 years. Christian groups and secular groups.  Groups that only meet for a park playdate, and groups that offer co-ops and field trips.  The one constant among all of the different groups I’ve participated in is drama.  No group seems immune.

It’s been about two months now that my small, intimate homeschool group has been meeting at the park weekly and doing field trips together.  It’s too soon to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done warding off drama, though.  I know it’s out there, lurking. Waiting to see what we do with it.

People you care about are going to hurt you.  People your kids care about are going to hurt them.  You are going to hurt people you care about.  Your kids are going to hurt people they care about.  It’s gonna happen.  It can be an ugly thing – bruising feelings, shattering friendships, and splintering groups if it’s handled poorly.  Handled well, it strengthens and reaffirms relationships, though.

So, here’s my proposal for keeping our little no-name, no-rules group from succumbing to drama.  I know this works, because I’ve used it successfully to dispel the inevitable drama in a co-op my family was involved in a few years ago.

(feel free to steal it and use it with your groups!)

Sonnet, Cathy, Paula, and Crystal, I promise to assume the best in each of you…and in your kids.

I ask that you assume the best in me…and in my kid.

I promise to come directly to you if I have a problem with you or it looks like our kids are having problems they can’t handle on their own.

I ask that you come directly to me if you have a problem with me or it looks like our kids are having problems they can’t handle on their own.

I promise to be approachable.  I don’t believe I’m perfect or my kid is perfect, that neither of us would ever say or do something that hurts someone else’s feelings. 

I ask that you be approachable, and don’t pretend you’re perfect or your kids are perfect, that neither of you would ever say or do something that hurts someone else’s feelings. 

I promise I will listen, believing that you are assuming the best in me or my kid, and try not to react defensively.

I ask that you listen, knowing that I am assuming the best in you or your kids, and try not to react defensively.

I promise that while we’re trying to resolve the problem, I won’t just be concerned about my feelings or my kid’s feelings.  Your feelings or your kids’ feelings will matter to me, too.

I ask that while we’re trying to resolve the problem, you won’t just be concerned about your feelings or your kids’ feelings.  My feelings or my kid’s feelings will matter to you, too.

I promise I will extend grace and forgiveness to you and your kids.

I ask that you extend grace and forgiveness to me and my kid.

I promise that once we’ve resolved the problem, it’s done and over with.

I ask that once we’ve resolved the problem, it’s done and over with for you as well.

When the drama comes – and it will at some point – we’ll be prepared.  It’ll find it’s not welcome in our small, tight-knit group.  When we assume the best in each other, when we’re approachable, and when everyone’s feelings matter to all of us, drama won’t destroy our friendships and fracture our group.

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