As with everything in life there are patterns, curves and learning experiences by which our decision making process is guided and our thoughts are formed. Putting ourselves in another set of shoes can help us with a little more direct perspective. I hope this will be productive and give some helpful insights to all my fellow LEOW's who take the time to read it. :)
Those of us who take the initiative to form wives groups/pages/blogs/organizations end up taking on a position of leadership, whether we intended to or not. Each of us has seen a need for support and we have been called to do something about it for our own communities. We don't start this journey with the purpose of being "known" in mind, or with any ulterior motives for personal public promotion. Many of the people behind the scenes are very private and do not want public recognition. However, there are those who are "self promoters". People who are out there trying to benefit or make a profit from the "support" they give. They stand to benefit from their support pages and do not fully support other LEO Wives because they have hidden agendas.
You can always find the opposite in every area of life and every profession. This ones no different.
I stand in the shoes of a founder and leader of a great group (LVMPO Wives), and feel that my perspective has given me insight into the workings of many different LEO groups and pages. I am regularly in contact with wives who facilitate other LEOW groups, and I believe my interactions have given me even more insight into the struggles involved in group formation.
Facilitating a LEOW group is a sacrificial, time consuming act of love! Service to our LEO community that pays ZERO dollars and often comes with a few who love to stir up some drama (a fun work bonus that makes you earn every dollar you aren't making!!)
Drama puts each of us in the line of fire (pun not intended) to be criticized or picked apart by others who want to tear us down because of fear, jealousy, or immaturity. You become a target to some people because you put yourself out there in a public position all because you want to join people together. It is just a part of the nature of the beast that we learn to accept as a leader in our community.
We do our best to control, prevent and contain the drama we are aware of, which often allows you the ability to escape it. We vet every request from wives who wish to join our wives groups so that everyone has a safe environment to enjoy. We do this not for fun, but for the privacy and protection of our police families. As leaders, we are the first person many of our women reach out to when tragedy strikes. We receive texts and phone calls in times of tragedy, both personal and professional and we do our best to be there for each and every person who needs us. I have been with wives who have lost their husband in the line of duty, wives who have lost their children to cancer, and police officer husbands who have tragically lost their wives. We are here for those who need us.
We lose a lot of the privacy we enjoyed prior to putting ourselves out there to try to foster and build the supportive communities and safe haven we can all enjoy. We don't sit down and think about any of the personal downsides, pitfalls and negatives of what we do, prior to doing it....or think about how accepting your fb friend request might complicate our lives. We are the doers that simply want to support and better strengthen our communities with you, no matter what.
This is not intended to be a "poor me" post. It's simply a request for all of us in the LEOW community to back and support each other for the better of our community. Are there things we could have done different and better at times? Absolutely! Life is a continuous growing and learning experience that we always must continue to build on. If someone tells you they have arrive at perfection, beware! Bottom line is we try! We want and need you to be on our team to help us make things better!
Can you imagine for a minute what our communities would be like if we didn't have LEOW groups, bloggers, support pages, organizations, etc.?
Our Blue family is only as strong as we make it. So, PLEASE, let's support, defend and have each other's backs! Let's give each other the benefit of the doubt when things are said or issues arise that we don't have all the details to! Lets look for the best in each other and not the imperfections! Let's have a little more grace for those who willingly step up and answer the call to be leaders! Let's be united, encouraging and gracious toward each other and our lives and our community will be all the better and stronger for it!
With love, and support for all the leaders out there!
Police Wives of America