Keeping the Peace at Co-op
Maintaining a peaceful homeschool co-op can sometimes be challenging, but it is extremely important. By its very definition, a co-op is a group of people working together for a common purpose. Every member has a role to fill and tasks to perform. If one person falls short on his or her responsibilities, then someone else has to pick up the slack or the entire co-op suffers. This can steal the peace from your group. People may get frustrated or resentful and it could lead to apathy among members.
In Romans 12:18, Paul writes “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Even if someone doesn’t do his or her task, I must live at peace. This lesson came to me the hard way through an experience at our co-op. Several little nuisances had occurred that day. By the end of co-op, I was in no mood to help with clean-up. Now, I was not “assigned” to do that task, but God had put it on my heart several weeks earlier for me to help so the bulk of work would not fall on just a few people. I am ashamed to admit that I was grumbling to myself while doing the tasks. When one of the assigned helpers left before checking to see if everything was done, something snapped inside me. I was mad. I think it was written all over my face because another mom asked me if I was tired. I curtly replied that I was frustrated and went back to work.
It wasn’t long before guilt set in. Why had I snapped at that other mom? That was unkind of me. What right did I have to be mad in the first place? I had volunteered to help. Who am I to grumble and complain? God loves a cheerful giver, not a sulky servant.Well, I knew what I had to do. I needed to repent and ask for forgiveness. I spent much time in prayer. Then, I asked for forgiveness from the other mom. Thankfully, she did not realize that I had been so rude to her and kindly forgave me. Maybe she was just being gracious. Either way, I was relieved.
So, what can we do to maintain the peace at co-op? First, we can pray for our group. We can ask that the Holy Spirit remind us regularly to live at peace with others and serve willingly without grumbling, arguing, or complaining. Second, we can do our share. No one person should carry the load. Third, we can be mindful of our hearts. If unkind feelings or resentment are triggered, we need to stop ourselves before we act. A silent prayer can do wonders. Finally, if we do let our emotions get the best of us, we can repent and ask for forgiveness. It will be humbling and may be difficult, but it will make us stronger and the peace at co-op will be restored.
Heidi Kinney is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in educational publishing. Her background includes professional teaching in the area of mathematics, as well as writing and editing for several educational publishers. She has been homeschooling her children since 2007. She shares homeschool lessons on her blog, Shared Lessons, at heidikinney.org.