What I’ve learned from plants and association actives

There are at least three types of plant people. Those who care for all their plants with great love and knowledge. Then there’s those who don’t really know how plants should be cared for, but still try their best. Thirdly, those who remember to take care of their plants only when the plant reminds of its existence with dropping or wilted leaves. It would be easy to think that only those like the first people mentioned qualify as plant enthusiasts but let me tell you a secret. All three qualify – the plants of all three flourish. All three get to enjoy the existence and greenness of their plants.

The same thing happens in association activities. A wide variety of people with different interests and motives get involved. One puts their heart and soul into association activities, they handle a variety of positions with care and on one’s own initiative. Another is taking responsibility for the first time for doing things of common concern, and may not quite know what to do, but still tries. The third performs their tasks mainly from duty. Maybe the tasks didn’t live up to their expectations, or the enthusiasm has faded for some other reason.

I have acted as chair in two boards and come across the three different types mentioned. Also, I am absolutely sure that the three types can be found in this very moment in almost every association. I want to say thank you to all of you. Whether you identified yourself as any of the above, you are important. Your work matters.

I hope the chairs are understanding. Two years ago, I was really annoyed when I had to remind board members of their duties. “How can someone not get their job done or be ready to spend all their time on subject association activities?” I wondered to myself. Retrospectively, it is easy to say how big of a mystery my own duties and my own role as chair were to me. During the year, however, I learned to ask, listen, and understand how others view association activities. I learned to keep up to date with the tasks of others, and to provide support in performing them.

A year ago, I was in a new board, ready to do everything the way I learned the previous year. However, the new board had new people with their own ways of working and their own needs. Everyone seemed to know perfectly well what their duties were and how they were best handled. The management was not at all the same as it was the previous year.

In the beginning, I compared association actives to plant enthusiasts, but association actives can also be compared to plants. Each is completely unique, although they can be divided into certain archetypes. One needs a big bucket full of water a week, while the other will rot if it gets even a drop too much. Still, I like everyone just as much.