CHAPTER 28 — PRINCIPLES OF LEADERSHIP
American Life League

It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause who at the best, knows the triumph of high achievement and who, at the worst, if he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

                                                                                           Theodore Roosevelt.

Introduction.

Woe to you when all men speak well of you.

                                                                                                          Luke 6:26.

Everyone has their idea of what an inspiring leader should be. Indeed, there are certain traits that are common to all effective leaders. These include the obvious and vital personality qualities such as common sense, competence, and courage, but also include lesser-known and less obvious qualities such as resourcefulness, dependability, and unselfishness.

However, in the pro-life movement, these qualities should not be unique to those in leadership positions. Every activist, no matter what his position, should strive to develop these traits to the maximum extent possible. This will not only assist the pro-life movement, but will greatly benefit the individual and society as well.

This chapter describes the differences between command and management, the three types of leaders, the impact of leadership style on organizational efficiency, and the personality traits of an effective commander or manager. The chapter concludes with a description of psychological stress and strain and how to identify and deal with them, vital skills for any pro-life activist.

Everyone is Valuable.

Developing the Gifts.

Every pro-life activist has skills and talents that he or she can use to save the lives of preborn children.

Along with everything else we possess, these attributes were given to us as free gifts by God, and it is our duty to develop them to the best of our abilities while using them in the fight to save lives.

We must not be like the worthless servant who buried his master's pieces of silver and then returned only what he received; we must use and multiply the gifts that God gave us, because we will be most certainly be held accountable if we do not.

A Special Breed Indeed ...

Many Christians read about a few spectacular pro/anti-abortion clashes in the newspaper and eventually develop a belief that all pro-life activists must be members of some special breed of human being in order to endure the abuse and disappointments that are heaped upon them.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

As always, God's army does not consist primarily of geniuses and great athletes; His recruits are perfectly ordinary people whose only qualities are a love for Him and a willingness to do His will.

The pro-life movement welcomes everyone, because each person has gifts that are of value. The movement can use speakers, writers, debaters, musicians, planners, artists, organizers, counselors, legislators, thinkers, actors, lawyers, and street preachers in fact, the only qualification that is necessary is that the person loves human life and wishes to preserve it.

The Leaders Among Us.

Every person has some or all of the qualities of an effective pro-life activist to varying degrees. Each person must develop and cultivate these desirable traits if he or she is going to stay in the pro-life battle for the long run.

A person who possesses these attributes to a marked degree may already realize that he has the potential to become a leader in this most difficult of battles.

The remainder of this chapter describes some of the common-sense rules of leadership, the three types of leaders, and the qualities that are essential to effective commanders and managers.

Command and Management.

Not only for every idle word but for every idle silence must man render an account.

                                                                                                   St. Ambrose.[1]

Skills Common to Both.

In any organization or conflict, good leadership is evident in two distinct species: Command and management.

Command is the ability to effectively direct and motivate an organization when it is under pressure. It means anticipating and dealing with hazardous or difficult situations on a routine basis by bringing direct personal influence to bear.

Management is the ability to oversee the efficient and timely routine day-to-day operations of an organization. The effective manager can deal with unexpected (usually non-critical) circumstances in a calm and rational manner by indirectly influencing the performance of his organization.

Peter F. Drucker has said that "Management is not being brilliant. Management is being conscientious. Management is doing a very few simple things and doing them well." An ordinary person can do virtually anything if he has the proper resources at his command, but it takes a good manager to achieve objectives with inadequate information, poor communication, and unwilling or undertrained workers.

In summary, command is primarily inspirational while management is primarily motivational.

Rules for Successful Leadership.

Although they are radically different in many ways, command and management require the same common-sense ability to effectively follow the rules that will increase the probability of success;

• Specialize in only one or two areas, but know a little bit about everything else.

• Tackle one job at a time if possible, two or more at a time only if unavoidable.

• Make decisions quickly after gathering all possible information, and don't fear the outcome. What's done is done. Don't regret a bad outcome if you really did the best you could with the information you had at the time.

• Recognize that experience allows one to make good decisions. But the only way to obtain experience is to make bad> decisions. In other words, experience is the only school that gives the test first, and then the instruction.

• Delegate responsibility. The only essential member of the pro-life team is God. Delegation allows others to develop management and leadership skills. Beware of the deadly "Messiah Complex."

• Don't stake too much on success and don't obsessively fear failure. Don't overvalue the unattainable.

• Don't undervalue what you have or what you are.

• Understand the principle of diminishing returns and be willing to "let a project go" if it is not panning out.

• Keep both your senses of humor and proportion.

• Don't worry too much about yesterday. It's gone. Don't worry a whole lot about tomorrow. It ain't here yet (but keep an eye on it). Focus the bulk of your energies on today.

Experienced commanders and managers can anticipate all probable outcomes and then plan accordingly. Significant differences between 'ordinary' persons and leaders are;

• The ordinary person sees symptoms and problems; the leader understands the essence of the problem and how to attack it.

• The ordinary person sees only a series of events with no apparent relationship; the leader understands how events relate to and affect each other and has a grasp of the theory of cause and effect; how the entities and their interconnections will be changed or moved by various stimuli; i.e., direct pressure, diversion, or deception.

• The ordinary person stumbles over pebbles in the road and sees problems as impassable boulders; the leader understands that he can either bypass the boulders or use them to his advantage.

• The ordinary person may be somewhat shy and withdrawn. He lacks self-confidence. The leader may have been this way at one time, but has learned how to motivate others and how to conquer his own feelings of inadequacy.

The Three Types of Leaders.

Introduction.

There are generally three species of leaders in the pro-life movement and in any organization, for that matter. These are the autocrat, the 'good old boy,' and the balanced leader. Each has his respective strengths and weaknesses, as described below.

The Autocrat.

The autocrat is always personally competent and charismatic and leads his organization by sheer force of will. Unfortunately, he generally possesses two major interrelated drawbacks that sometimes fatally compromise the effectiveness of his leadership.

The first of these defects is the "Messiah Complex." Although he may verbally deny it, the Autocrat subconsciously believes that he is indispensable and irreplaceable. He must be involved in as many details as possible, and finds it extremely difficult to delegate his authority to others, because he firmly believes that "if you want something done right, you must do it yourself." This trait leads to resentment among other pro-lifers, who feel that he mistrusts them. In the long run, this "Messiah Complex" can also have profound detrimental effects upon the leader's family.

The second major drawback of the autocratic style of leadership is intimately related to the first. The Autocrat tends to become very set in his ways. Once he finds an acceptable way to accomplish a goal, he will stick to it even if a far better method is presented to him. He therefore becomes almost immune to suggestions from other pro-lifers.

Needless to say, working for the Autocrat can be extremely frustrating. The general impression he unintentionally gives is that his is the only important opinion, and the thoughts of others count for little or nothing. This can be fatal to the self-esteem of many pro-lifers in the organization, because everyone likes to think that his opinions count. Even more importantly, the organization run by an Autocrat becomes ineffective and therefore outmoded after a relatively short period of time because it refuses to change its tactics to meet changing conditions.

The Autocrat may be effective in the armed forces, where his word is law and any deviations from it are punishable, but an autocratic leader in the pro-life movement has no such sanctions at his command. If his followers do not like his style of leadership, they will simply drift away and move to other organizations or, even worse, drop out of the movement altogether.

The 'Good Old Boy.'

The GOB style of leadership is the polar opposite of that practiced by the Autocrat. He leads not by command, but by persuasion. The GOB is kind and compassionate, and is willing to listen to everyone's opinion when making his decisions.

Unfortunately, he finds it difficult to take decisive action, because he is acutely aware that everyone has an opinion and he doesn't want to offend any of their owners. Therefore, he may lean towards attempting to work out a compromise among all of the concerned parties, even in the many instances when a compromise would be the worst possible situation for the preborn babies.

The GOB also has an extremely high degree of trust in almost everyone and may delegate his authority inappropriately and without the proper safeguards.

The inevitable result of prolonged GOB-style leadership is a dilution of effectiveness of the organization and a tendency to gravitate towards inoffensive and largely useless activities.

Balanced Leadership.

The third type of leader is the kind of person who can smoothly blend the best qualities of the Autocrat and the Good Old Boy and who can display the appropriate qualities of either at the proper times.

During periods of inaction, when there is plenty of time to discuss plans and mull them over, the balanced leader is open-minded and can consider all of the alternatives that are offered to him. However, in times of high stress, he can take forceful command of the situation and lead his people effectively.

He trusts his people to the extent of their abilities, neither giving them too much to do nor letting them remain idle. He sets the standard and holds everyone to it, while letting them know that some of the less essential elements of the group's functions can be changed or modified to suit the situation.

Above all, he works with his people not above them, like the Autocrat, or for them, like the Good Old Boy.

The Impact of Leadership Style On Organizational Effectiveness.

Introduction.

There are two ways to accurately assess how a particular style of leadership affects an organization. One way is to look at the individual members of a group by examining their morale, and the other way is to look at the group as a whole by examining its proficiency.

Morale.

Morale measures how the people in an organization feel about themselves, their group, their goals, and their working conditions.

A individual has high morale if he possesses an optimistic outlook, has a caring attitude towards others, and carries out his duties in an efficient and enthusiastic manner. He is proud of his affiliation with his pro-life group and will hasten to tell anyone who will listen about its activities. An organization whose members have high morale will constantly be carrying out effective and innovative missions and will be making a real difference in the abortion battle, either at the local or national levels.

A group's members have low morale is low if the organization is lethargic, participates in few activities, expends its energies in many meetings, and has a very high turnover of personnel. Its members complain of sloppy or unresponsive leadership and bungled missions and have a generally bad attitude about their duties.

Such a group languishes on the sidelines of the abortion debate and is seldom attacked by abortophiles because they recognize that it is not an effective 'player' in the abortion debate and therefore poses little threat to their abortion 'right.'

Proficiency.

Proficiency is the extent to which an organization possesses the attributes and resources that it needs in order to carry out the missions that it would like to undertake. Proficiency is largely dependent upon the degree of morale that a pro-life group possesses. Morale, in turn, is dependent upon the type of leadership that a group has.

A group will be proficient if it is experienced, aggressive, and imaginative, and if it possesses the initiative that is required to produce a plan and put it into action from a 'cold start.'

A group demonstrates a low degree of proficiency if it squanders its resources foolishly, either by undertaking tasks that it cannot possible accomplish, or by improperly planning for and then bungling missions that should have been within its capabilities.

Improving Morale and Proficiency.

Every leader can improve the morale and proficiency of his group by doing the following;

• provide good training sessions for new activists in order to give them basic skills and knowledge and an idea of the context within which they will be working. It often helps to pair a new activist with an experienced one who can dispel the many myths about pro-lifers and counsel the 'rookie' on where his talents may lie.

• conduct quarterly social get-togethers where everyone can just relax and forget about saving the world for a few hours. These should be family functions that helps the husbands, wives, and children of activists gain a feeling of belonging to the movement. Leaders may also recognize outstanding individual achievements with some type of award at these events.

• set high standards of performance and see to it that they are met.

• emphasize that the group is a team, where every member depends upon the performance of every other member.

• frequent praise for jobs well done, even if it is carried out in an informal, person-to-person manner, does a lot to let a person realize that he is important to the organization.

• give people progressively more difficult or complex tasks as they gain experience and demonstrate their capabilities. This allows them to develop deeper skills in one area. 'Cross-train' so that each person can become familiar with the activities of other people. Cross-training provides a refreshing change of pace and leads to a strong sense of belonging and instills confidence.

• develop the leadership capabilities of some of the more promising members of the group.

Leadership Qualities.

The primary purpose of leadership whether it be command or management is to inspire confidence in an organization and direct it towards the accomplishment of its mission(s).

It is impossible to define a leader with mere words. A successful leader can only be defined by certain personal qualities. Everyone possesses all of these qualities to some degree or can develop them with practice.

It is impossible to overemphasize that these qualities are valuable to everyone, not just to leaders. Everyone, no matter what their position in the organization, should strive to develop as many leadership qualities to as high a degree as they possibly can.

These qualities are listed below and are described in the following paragraphs.

THE QUALITIES OF AN EFFECTIVE PRO-LIFE LEADER

Absolutely Vital Leadership Qualities

#1. Faith
#2. Integrity
#3. Common Sense
#4. Competence
#5. Open-Mindedness
#6. Courage
#7. Endurance
#8. Initiative
#9. Humility
#10. Loyalty

Less Vital But Still Important Leadership Qualities

#11. Decisiveness
#12. Fairness
#13. Bearing
#14. Enthusiasm
#15. Resourcefulness
#16. Dependability
#17. Unselfishness
#18. Tact
#19. Humor
#20. A sense of the future

Absolutely Vital Leadership Qualities.

There are many qualities that constitute an "ideal" leader. The most vital of these are an integral part of a person's psychological makeup. Although many of the most vital leadership characteristics can be learned or acquired through sustained and protracted self-evaluation and effort, most 'natural leaders' are either born with them or have simply developed them as a natural result of their upbringing.

The most vital leadership qualities are essential to effective leadership and are described in the following paragraphs.

Leadership Quality #1: Faith.

Pray as if everything depended on God,
and work as if everything depended upon man.

                                                                                        Francis Cardinal Spellman.

Christian Coherence.

When a Christian has developed his own personal philosophy to the point where he is at peace with God and with himself, he has achieved spiritual coherency.

Coherency is a term usually associated with the physical and psychological sciences. A coherent entity is united in principles, relationships, or interests; is logically or aesthetically consistent; and is comprised of components that are assembled in an orderly or suitable manner.

A laser is coherent because it holds a tight beam over long distances; the light from an incandescent bulb is not coherent because it scatters illumination in every direction. A structure that collapses or deteriorates quickly is incoherent because its components do not work well together; the Pyramids of Cheops are coherent structures because they were well-planned and have withstood the test of time.

In summary, coherence might be referred to as the person's 'internal integration' that nobody ever sees, but which many people strive for all their lives.

Coherence > Consistency.

The natural product of a coherent personality is a coherent philosophy. This is sometimes referred to as 'consistency.'

Consistency is the quality of having a personal philosophy that is applied uniformly to all situations. The consistent person has carefully thought out his positions and has established a firm framework of rules within which to live. These rules are sometimes referred to as 'heuristics,' or 'rules of thumb.'

Because of its very nature, the adoption of situational ethics destroys a person's consistency. After all, what is consistency but the ability to apply rules uniformly to a wide variety of situations? Those who adhere to situational ethics pick and choose their philosophy depending upon the mood of the moment. Their philosophy does not command their actions; their actions command their philosophy, which is constantly changing to suit their personal convenience.

By contrast, the true Christian remains at peace, no matter how difficult his situation. The various components of his personality co-exist without friction.

He is focused on Jesus Christ, who has promised peace to those whose minds are fixed upon Him. The coherent Christian is therefore capable of dealing in a calm, rational, and consistent manner with any situation that may present itself.

He can defend his beliefs in a logical and persuasive manner, and is able to endure a high degree of physical and psychological stress without undue strain.

In other words, a coherent Christian is a happy Christian. A coherent person is a person who has accepted God's will and is happy to be where God wants him to be.

The Latter-Day Suit of Armor.

Never before has personal coherence been so vitally important.

Christians are confronted today with a world that is profoundly different from any that has existed before. If a person's philosophy has no direction or rudder, he will drift as helplessly as a bit of flotsam in a raging flood. He will think that he is in control when he is really being swept to destruction.

As the German philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe recognized, "None is more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe that they are free."[2]

Our society is the catalyst for a confusing and undisciplined riot of ideas and philosophies that, in the last half-century, has acquired two identifying characteristics;

(1) we have lost our belief in Satan. Therefore, we have lost our sense of sin and its consequences. Sin is no longer individual, it is "social." And, if there is no individual sin, there is no need of individual repentance or even of God; and

(2) we are confronted with mass movements of true distilled evil that have labeled themselves as "good" and have classified what was formerly good as "evil." Therefore, "good" and "evil" have traded places in the public mind.

Centuries ago, Christian warriors faced battles of a different kind. In Medieval Europe, squires would train diligently for years to become knights. Wealthy families commissioned experienced artisans to construct suits of armor for their sons who were destined to become knights. This process required 800 to 1,000 hours of painstaking hand labor and a dozen or more careful fittings. A good suit of armor cost a year's wages or more.

The day before he was to be knighted, the squire would don the complete suit of armor for the first time and would spend the entire night in prayer.

Once knighted, he would not simply hang up his armor and leave it to gather dust; he would use it in battle.

Today, our armor is our faith in God. Every time we learn another bit of information about our Faith, every time we attend church, every time we spend time in prayer, and every time we band together with other Christians to take concrete action against evil, we are strengthening and using our armor of faith.

We are engaged in a joyful war. We are not aiming to devastate villages or fill body bags; we are trying to save lives and souls.

A strong faith is our armor against deception, weakness, and lies. A strong faith is the foundation of all of our other good qualities. As we develop other skills or talents, we must continually check to be absolutely certain that our faith in God is as solid as rock.

The Very Bottom Line.

The final victory belongs to the Lord. Constant prayer gives a person the essential traits of faith, endurance, and a proper perspective.

Remember that God and us makes a majority.

Prayer also confers wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to see the world as it really is, to see the world as it should be, and to see what can be done to bring these two visions closer together.

All that we do must be done ultimately in love for God and for others. We cannot be angry. Anger eats away at the individual like a deadly cancer. Hatred and vengeance inevitably destroy the person they fester within. Just look at pro-abortionists for an example of the effects of this kind of intense hatred!

Anti-Life = Incoherence.

Every pro-life activist knows that anti-lifers say that they place a heavy premium on personal consistency. Pro-abortionists in particular insist that a personal philosophy must apply uniformly and consistently in all situations.

It may be puzzling, then, that such allegedly consistent people are so inconsistent in their reasoning and in the presentation of their viewpoint(s).

This is because, even though anti-lifers may present a showy facade of fake consistency, there is a tremendous tension between the outer facade and the real inner person. In other words, there is no fundamental sense or goal to the anti-life philosophy. Its 'individual pieces' do not fit together properly. It is, in a word, incoherent.

An anti-life person may apply what appears to be an apparently uniform philosophy to the various life issues. But this person is usually deeply unhappy and self-destructive, as so many anti-lifers are. Such people possess only a shallow consistency built upon the shifting foundation of an incoherent personal life.

Examples of Anti-Life Inconsistency.

Personal incoherence inevitably manifests itself as inconsistency.

This is why anti-life people demand an end to capital punishment as they kill their own preborn children by the millions. This is why they demand that the government not try to end the direct infanticide of defective newborns, at the very time they are complaining that innocent people are being killed by United States "imperialist aggression."

Anti-lifers say that they are for freedom of conscience, and yet require that those who believe that abortion is murder pay for it with their tax money. They say that pro-lifers hate their own sexuality as they struggle to suppress their own fertility through abortion, sterilization, and contraception. And they label pro-lifers as "intolerant" and "judgmental" while spewing a stream of vitriol and hate at the same pro-lifers.

To put it bluntly, a person with an anti-life philosophy may think and allege that he is consistent but his thinking is absolutely riddled with inconsistency. Therefore, he is literally incapable of expressing himself in a consistent manner.

Leadership Quality #2: Integrity.

A person has integrity if he adheres firmly to a set of high moral standards. A pro-life leader is moral in both his public and private lives, and he can be relied upon to keep his word regarding matters both large and small.

It is certainly true that many pro-life leaders have indulged in unethical financial, business, or sexual practices in the past. Many women who are now pro-life had abortions themselves, and many pro-life men once supported the killing. But these people have repented of these and other sins and are now fighting against them.

Such people have just as much integrity as the rare person who has never engaged in unethical practices of any sort.

The very essence of integrity is to possess the ability to examine one's life critically and to make the changes necessary to conform to a high moral standard. This concept is alien to the anti-life mentality; a Neoliberal will instead change his morality to suit his behavior.

Leadership Quality #3: Common Sense.

There is a great difference between book knowledge and common sense. There are many people who know an abundance of facts but cannot seem to integrate them to form conclusions. Everyone knows about the stereotypical bumbling professor who knows much but cannot seem to function properly in difficult or nonstandard situations.

There is also a huge difference between being intelligent and being smart. Many people have high intelligence quotients (IQs) but cannot put their brains to work in order to make good decisions.

Everyone accumulates experience in many areas as they grow older. The pro-life leader has the ability to translate these experiences into wisdom, or common sense. This wisdom leads to the ability to make good decisions and fosters self-confidence under pressure, both of which are highly visible and inspire confidence in followers.

Leadership Quality #4: Competence.

A pro-life leader must not only know what he is doing, he must look as if he knows what he is doing. He must be confident in his abilities, and this confidence is nurtured by knowing the life issues on both the national and local levels. Confidence also comes from having a realistic picture of the immediate situation in terms of the strengths and weaknesses of his own organization and those of the opposition.

Competence springs from experience (and the ability to learn from experience), and experience comes from participating in a wide range of pro-life activities for a period of several years. Those pro-lifers who have been active for only a year or two should not attempt to lead others or speak for the movement unless nobody else is available, because any pro-life leader may encounter questions or situations that come from a wide variety of sources and address an even wider variety of issues, only one of which is abortion. It takes several years before an activist becomes knowledgeable enough to handle most situations that may arise in a leadership position.

Leadership Quality #5: Open-Mindedness.

In the rapidly-changing world of pro-life activism, becoming set in one's ways means automatic obsolescence and ineffectiveness.

Everyone has their own way of doing things. In time, if a task is repeated, people tend to use the same method for accomplishing it, even if far superior means become available. Their excuse is that "I've (we've) always done it this way."

Having an open mind means being able to listen to fresh viewpoints and methods and then accurately assessing them to see if the current way of doing things needs to be changed or upgraded.

Absorbing and evaluating new ideas, even if they appear to be ridiculous upon first inspection, is one of the most effective ways of gaining experience.

Leadership Quality #6: Courage.

Courage is the finest of human qualities, because it guarantees all the others.

                                                                                                      Winston Churchill.

Introduction.

In this entitlement-addicted society, pro-lifers are definitely not fashionable, and nobody likes to be labeled a fanatic. But if a person 'sets his face like flint' and makes the positive decision to stand up for preborn babies without regard for his reputation, he will eventually be held in esteem by everyone even by the pro-abortionists themselves!

The abortophiles hate pro-life activists who are uncompromising in their position, but this hate is tempered with a healthy respect, regardless of what the pro-aborts say on camera.

A pro-life activist must not be afraid of being afraid. Our society places a premium on the George Patton "A-type" personality. Anyone who says that they are not afraid during a rescue, or during their first few times sidewalk counseling, or speaking to a hostile audience, or attempting to counsel a young girl determined to abort, is either a fool or a liar.

As Mark Twain once said, "Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear."

Courage for Leaders.

A pro-life leader can recognize both physical and ethical danger but acts calmly as he plans a course of action in response. Fear is a natural defense mechanism and everyone feels it occasionally unless there is something seriously wrong with them. The secret to courage is controlling fear.

Curiously, many people fear criticism from their peers more intensely than they do actual physical danger. This makes sense, because the average pro-life activist will rarely face bodily harm, but will inevitably come under fire from friends, co-workers, and fellow churchgoers who are either abortophiles or are salving their personal guilt by attacking the activist.

The person with true courage is one who can not only face rare instances of physical danger, but who can 'stay the course' over the passage of the years and do what he knows is right, no matter what others say to him or about him.

Leadership Quality #7: Endurance.

Carry On Regardless.

The pro-life movement is an unforgiving and relentless crucible. It either cracks activists like eggs, or hardens them to the trials of the world to the point where they are virtually invulnerable.

Anyone who has been in the movement for several years and has been on the front lines frequently will inevitably develop the leadership quality of endurance. He will be able to absorb any number of losses and continue to battle on. He will be able to endure threats, violence, and, worst of all, indifference shown by those who should be involved.

No 'Retirement.'

Make no mistake about it: The committed pro-life activist is in the movement for life. Once a person knows exactly what abortion is and what it means, his or her conscience (if it continues to function properly) will not allow 'retirement.' The only 'retirement' is death, but the benefits are Heavenly!

There always have been and there always will be selfish and murderous people who feel perfectly comfortable eliminating those who they have deemed inconvenient or unworthy. Their names are legion: Nero, Herod, Vlad the Impaler, Attila the Hun, Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot, and now, modern American and European pro-abortionists and euthanasiasts. The shield used by these people is not faith, but the law.

Since there will always be people like this, our world will always need pro-life activists who will stay in the battle for as long as they live. An activist who has been with the movement for ten, twenty, and occasionally even thirty years lends a crucial continuity to pro-life activities and organizations.

Know the Arena.

Many pro-lifers are literally surrounded by people who look upon them as somehow mentally deficient because of their views. After all, most people are gullible enough to believe almost everything the media says, and the media tends to transmit views that reflect a pervasive anti-life mentality.

Under such conditions, many pro-lifers may feel tempted to just throw up their hands and give in. However, this is exactly what the pro-abortionists want us to do; to leave them in peace to continue their dreadful slaughter.

There are four general guidelines that allow pro-lifers to steadfastly maintain their faith and philosophy in a world that sometimes seems to have lost its collective mind. These are;

(1) Know yourself;
(2) Know who your friends are;
(3) Know the enemy and his tactics; and
(4) Anticipate and understand the pressure.

(1) Know Yourself.

Make an honest assessment of your strengths and your weaknesses. Identify the 'near occasions of sin' that concern you and studiously avoid them. Make a habit of taking a few minutes to carefully examine your conscience every day. What could you have done better?

(2) Know Your Friends.

Nobody is strong enough to make it by themselves in this world especially if they are a Christian. Whenever the pressure to conform just overwhelms a person, he must be able to pour out his feelings to someone who cares.

We must try to set aside a little time every day for prayer in a private place. In just twenty minutes, a person can lay his cares and concerns and needs before the Lord. A steady and strong prayer life strengthens personal resolve the whole day through by establishing a prayerful attitude.

If a pro-lifer finds himself in a difficult situation where his judgement might be under some external influence, all he needs do is ask himself this simple question: What would Jesus do in this situation?

Reading about the lives of the Saints is both instructive and enjoyable. The pressures and persecutions that they faced still exist today; such influences are simply much more subtle and sophisticated, and perhaps much more dangerous because we don't always realize that they are working on us.

The first Christian martyrs faced an intense and agonizing ordeal that was over in a few minutes or hours; today's activist Christians are martyred with infinite maliciousness and patience over a period of years or even decades.

It is instructive to study and understand the teachings of the Church. The total body of rules set down by the Church are really pretty minimal, and can be followed successfully if we work at it. These rules make good common sense, too, in this age of AIDS and other venereal diseases, proliferating drugs, suicide, and murder.

Any pro-life activist who is in a position of unusual stress may need to speak to someone with experience in dealing with personal problems. Most priests and ministers can provide wisdom and guidance. No matter what the problem, he's heard it all before and can guide the pro-lifer in the right direction. Some people meet with a spiritual advisor on a regular basis.

Perhaps the most important point regarding 'spiritual support' from a practical viewpoint is to "hang out" with other pro-lifers. After a day or a week of being saturated by a pervasive anti-life society, the strongest pro-lifer may wobble a bit. Nothing refreshes a strong love for life more than simply talking to other pro-lifers and working with them on some worthy project.

(3) Know the Enemy and His Tactics.

We know it sounds terribly old-fashioned and provincial, but ultimately, the enemy is and always has been Satan. Interestingly, one of his many titles is Lucifer, or 'light-bearer.'

He may appear in one of many attractive guises, and his most powerful weapon is temptation. He plays upon our human weaknesses and makes us desire immediate and temporary gain at the expense of grace and our eternal souls. He may indirectly attack us by influencing us through someone else as he does when bringing peer pressure to bear.

The wise pro-life activist must study the enemy's strategies and tactics carefully so that he may recognize and thwart them as soon as he sees them.

Chapters 6 to 19 describe the most common strategies and tactics used by anti-life groups and individuals.

(4) Understand the Pressure.

Pressure in today's world comes in two primary forms; direct or indirect.

Pressure may take the form of a direct attack on Christianity. It is true that Christophobia is the only remaining acceptable form of bigotry and it is certainly alive and thriving in the United States today! Examples are the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, sacrilegious "art," and the motion pictures "Hail Mary," "Kill the Pope," and "The Last Temptation of Christ." These concrete assaults on our Faith are relatively easy to fight because they are easy to define and identify.

The real threat to a pro-lifer is when he is assaulted by a temptation which disguises itself as something else. Some of the more obvious examples which are generally directed at younger people are listed below.

• "Go on, try it! It won't hurt you."
• "You really need it if you're going to fit in here."
• "Don't you love me? You would if you loved me!"
• "Oh, don't listen to them! They don't really care about you!"
• "You're kidding! You go to church? What for?"
• "But don't you want to be free and independent?"

Stay Healthy in Mind and Body!

Physical endurance promotes mental endurance. An activist should have a healthy diet and should participate in low-impact aerobic exercise several times a week. These include long walks, hiking, slow running, and bicycle riding. One of the best ways to keep an exercise program going for years is to make it an integral part of the day. For example, if a person commutes to work by foot or bike, they will save money in gas and parking fees, and will have two automatic built-in workouts every day (not to mention being "environmentally consistent")!

Some people may consider their personal affairs too pressing to 'waste time' on daily exercise. However, numerous studies have shown that every hour of aerobic exercise adds several hours to a person's life and makes him or her vigorous and mentally sharp as well.

Pro-life activists who currently subscribe to a health care plan that pays for abortions (an almost sure bet, since almost all of them do) may want to check out the rates offered by the pro-life insurance companies listed below.

Pro-Life Insurance Agency, Inc.
Post Office Box 1232
Northbrook, Illinois 60062

Holy Family Society of the USA
1 Fairlane Drive
Joliet, Illinois 60435

Pro-Life Assurance Society
1612 South Prospect Avenue
Park Ridge, Illinois 60068

Pro-Life Marketing Group
Post Office Box 2606
Southfield, Michigan 48037
Telephone: (313) 357-7852

Burnout.

Periodic mild or even severe burnout is virtually inevitable, since the life issues are so very emotional and draining. A person who feels impending burnout must "back away" for a few days or even a few weeks and take a holiday from pro-life activism.

It is infinitely easier to recover from a near-burnout than it is to come back from an actual burnout or the even more severe psychological "flameout," which in rare cases causes the pro-lifer to turn upon his former friends.

The activist must never feel that he is essential, and must never be so proud that he believes that important tasks will not be completed without his presence. This is a manifestation of the "Messiah Complex" so prevalent in the business world today. Remember this:

EVERYONE IS IMPORTANT, BUT NOBODY INCLUDING YOU IS ESSENTIAL!

Father John Powell has captured the essence of burnout and of the Messiah Complex;

I think that, if I were the devil, I would dangle two temptations in the prolife line of vision. The first temptation would be discouragement. I would remind prolife people that they are a small minority, a lonely voice crying in the wilderness. "You are just a handful of people. What can you accomplish?

The second temptation I would propose to the beautiful prolife persons would be overresponsibility. In psychology an overresponsible person is one who takes on all the problems of everyone around him. By the way, you are listening to the voice of experience. I have suffered for years from a Messiah complex. I thought Jesus needed a rest so I took over. It was a great relief to resign.[3]

Be Happy!

Physicians and researchers have proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that a well-developed sense of humor can add years to one's life and can even aid in recovery from grave injuries or illnesses. A sense of humor will also add years to the pro-lifer's activism and make his task more pleasant as well.

Humor has been shown to be possible in every situation even in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. It doesn't hurt to tell the occasional pro-life joke (simply modify a lawyer joke). Perhaps the pro-abortionists are right when they say that pro-lifers are grim characters (we have a lot to be grim about, after all). Humor also allows one to communicate with anyone of any philosophy; it has always been the simplest and most effective icebreaker.

Leadership Quality #8: Initiative.

Failures are divided into two classes those who thought and never did, and those who did and never thought.

John C. Salak.

Most people can competently carry out tasks that obviously must be done, but few can see a need and then make plans to resolve it.

Most people are not 'self-starters:' They do not have the self-confidence or motivation to actually begin a project or to even suggest that it should be carried out. By contrast, a pro-life leader continually monitors the general situation or individual missions, sees what needs to be done, makes a running priority lest, and then selects, plans, and supervises the course of action that needs to be carried out.

Leadership Quality #9: Humility.

It goes without saying that being in a position of responsibility gives some people swelled heads.

A true leader correctly recognizes that his position is one of service, not one of being served. The accomplished leader does not suffer from the "Messiah Complex;" he recognizes that he is not irreplaceable or invaluable. In fact, he must work to insure that his subordinate leaders can step in to take his place at any time, so that there will be continuity in leadership if he should have to leave the organization for any reason.

In addition to being a good character trait, humility has its practical advantages. A person who cannot learn is useless. Perhaps the greatest obstacle to learning is a lack of humility the attitude that one "knows it all."

Leadership Quality #10: Loyalty.

A pro-life leader is loyal not only to the people he leads, but to his cause. This means that he does not publicly criticize others in the pro-life movement, because he knows that this will cause irreparable damage to the morale all pro-lifers. The Neoliberal media likes nothing better than to portray pro-lifers as indecisive and divided, because this appears to make them inconsistent and will scare away potential pro-life recruits.

If a pro-life leader perceives a problem within his own organization or in some other group, he must go directly to the source to straighten it out. No other first step is acceptable. What appears to be a serious problem is usually just a communications glitch.

If there really is a problem, and if talking directly to the people involved does not work, the pro-life leader should solicit the opinions of other pro-lifers and enlist their aid in correcting the problem.

Less Vital But Still Important Leadership Qualities.

The following leadership qualities, although they are important, are not absolutely vital to effective leadership and do not constitute the core essence of a leader.

These 'secondary leadership qualities' may be the natural result of a person's psychology and/or upbringing, but, if a person does not currently possess them, they can be learned with a relatively small amount of effort by almost anyone who aspires to lead others.

They are described in the following paragraphs.

Leadership Quality #11: Decisiveness.

A leader is decisive.

He does not waver, and does not agonize over every decision to the point of becoming obsessive about details. An indecisive person cannot inspire confidence in his followers. In some situations, instant decisions must be made based upon available information, and the person who can assess the problem and decide on a course of action in seconds is invaluable under fire.

Followers can tolerate an occasional bad decision that is made in good faith; i.e., a decision made based upon the best information available at the time. But repeated bad decisions that are made because of incompetence or bad leadership practices will quickly erode confidence and will lead to friction and loss of morale.

Leadership Quality #12: Fairness.

A pro-life leader is usually in charge of a group of volunteers. Therefore, it is absolutely critical that he does not play favorites and that he treats everyone in the same manner. Just as importantly, the leader should never ask someone to do something that he himself would not do. The leader must be willing to share in the discomfort and occasional danger of the people he leads.

Pro-life activists, more than anyone else, realize just how unfair the world really is not only to preborn babies, but to them personally. Although they can tolerate a lot of unfairness, having an unfair leader just adds to their burden.

Leadership Quality #13: Bearing.

A person who dresses like a bum and has breath like an orangutan's armpit will find it very difficult to inspire confidence in anyone.

A good leader generally looks like a leader unless he is participating in some sort of covert operation. He or she doesn't have to be a bodybuilder or a beauty queen and doesn't have to be dressed in the best clothes. A person on a modest budget can dress neatly and can be properly groomed. And everyone can cultivate cleanliness, good posture and grooming, and a crisp and clear voice, all of which command respect.

Leadership Quality #14: Enthusiasm.

As every experienced activist knows, pro-life work consists of long stretches of difficult, monotonous work interspersed with flashes of pure panic. It is hard to maintain one's own motivation in the face of such drudgery, especially in those times when victory seems to be impossible, and it is even more difficult to inspire others to greater efforts.

The pro-life leader can appeal to others by emphasizing the 'big picture' and by stressing God's wonderful mission for us. The leader may acknowledge his own depression at times but does not dwell upon it to the point where it begins to demotivate others.

Nothing is more depressing that being around a committed pessimist or complainer. Such a person heightens the fears of others, creates imaginary dangers in his and other's minds, and is just plain no fun to be around. On the other hand, enthusiasm, cheerfulness, and optimism can inspire everyone in the organization.

Leadership Quality #15: Resourcefulness.

A leader is someone who can do more and more with less and less until eventually he can do anything with nothing or so it seems. A leader has imagination and can turn almost any situation to his advantage. Even when the cause seems hopeless, he is the one who can find the means of action needed to achieve victory.

A leader is an excellent "scrounger;" he can collect whatever physical assets he needs from the most unlikely sources and then can use them to best advantage. He can also persuade others to donate time, money, or materials to the cause.

One critical aspect of resourcefulness is imagination, which is important for many reasons. If pro-lifers plan an event (or counter an anti-life event) with imagination and daring, they will accomplish several objectives. They will attract a lot of attention. They will generate enthusiasm among their fellow pro-life activists. They will earn the respect of the public. And they will make their enemy wonder just when and where they will 'strike' next.

A person or group that accomplishes a task with imagination, even outrageous imagination, cannot help but come out ahead.

Imagination is the seedbed of ideas, and it helps to read books with original ideas, even if one has no plans to implement them. Such books include Joe Scheidler's Closed: 99 Ways to Stop Abortion, George Hayduke's The Complete Book of Dirty Tricks, and Lee Lapin's two volume set on How to Get Anything on Anybody.

These and other similar books are described in Chapter 3, "The Basics of Planning."

Leadership Quality #16: Dependability.

Nothing is more irritating than to have someone say that he will deliver a service and then have him forget completely or perform the task in a slovenly manner. A lack of dependability is a sure sign of ingrained disrespect for others and of personal disorganization.

A leader is dependable down to the smallest details, because when a plan goes awry, it is invariably because someone has neglected some seemingly insignificant detail. A leader returns phone calls promptly and arrives at a rendezvous at the stated time. He 'delivers the goods' on time and as expected and, if the job cannot be finished on time, he informs those who need to know and explains the situation to them.

Leadership Quality #17: Unselfishness.

Anyone who is a pro-life volunteer already possesses a high degree of altruism and unselfishness, because he is fighting not for his own rights, but for the rights of a class of people that he cannot even see.

The pro-life leader must go one step further. He must place the interests of his fellow activists above his own. He must see to their comfort and needs before he takes care of his own. This is very important because, even though the physical and emotional needs of most pro-life activists are minimal, they are very basic and important to their continued efficient activism.

Leadership Quality #18: Tact.

Abortophiles like to stereotype members of the pro-life movement as arrogant White male supremacists. Despite this inaccurate and unseemly bleating, pro-lifers range in background from Black fundamentalists to White atheists, and include every manner of human being imaginable (for a comparison of the characteristics of pro-aborts and pro-lifers, see Chapter 16, "Anti-Life Slogans").

Pro-life individuals have a thousand different opinions as to how abortion can best be stopped. The true pro-life leader is a person who can get all of these factions to work together toward a common goal. He must possess the ability to understand these different viewpoints and be able to present them to others in terms that they understand, so that all may be convinced that working together is the best possible course of action.

Leadership Quality #19: Humor.

The most ridiculous and improbable situations routinely confront the effective pro-life activist. There are two possible personal responses to a situation over which one has little or no control: To become frustrated and angry, or to treat it with good humor.

One need only to look at the pro-aborts to see where the former course of action has led. Abortophiles have a religion, all right: The religion of control. Any time they perceive that this precious control is compromised in any way, they react with anger and, many times, violence. This not only reflects badly on the pro-abortion movement, it erodes the will of its members. Nothing is more corrosive than bitterness and guilt, both of which infect every anti-lifer.

By contrast, to treat a situation with humor is to place it in its proper perspective. Humor helps to disarm the opposition, works to gain sympathy from the public, and serves as an admirable defense mechanism in that it relieves personal stress and the tension it causes. A person who can treat a frustrating or dangerous situation with humor (while being careful to recognize its potential for damage) gives an impression of courage and bravery to his or her followers.

Leadership Quality #20: A Sense of the Future.

Forward-Looking Optimism.

Sometimes a pro-life activist may get the impression that he is mired in a tar pit of evil. He is besieged by a consciously atheistic society, berated by knaves masquerading as intellectuals, and scolded by a paralyzed Church that is no more than a laughingstock, both to atheists and to most pro-lifers.

The only way to beat the depressing mood of the moment is to look ahead to the future. All pro-lifers must realize that final and complete victory inevitably belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ. No other outcome is possible. We are on the winning side, and no amount of pro-abort money, media sniveling, or church indifference will change that immutable fact.

It is only a matter of time before we share in the Lord's final victory. All we have to do is patiently endure the present while working and praying like mad.

Pass On to Your Children the Love Of Life! It may be a trite expression, but it really is true: Our children will not only lead the future, they are the future of the world.

As shown in Chapter 2, "The Anti-Life Mentality," the anti-life movements are sterile and carry the inevitable seeds of their own destructions. Anti-life adults have less than one-third the number of children that pro-life adults do. If we, as Christian pro-lifers, make certain that we pass our values on to our children, it will only be a matter of time before the anti-life movements simply disappear, screaming, into the void from whence they came.

There are many ways to make sure that your children develop pro-life values;

• involve them in projects by having them perform meaningful tasks. Nothing helps a child's self-esteem more than knowing that he is contributing a valuable service. This makes him feel valuable and accepted, an important part of the "team." Additionally, the child will have a head start on becoming a lifetime pro-life activist. When a child has been involved in direct activism, he will be less likely to give up the pro-life philosophy when he becomes an adult, despite all of the many pressures to do so.

• closely track what your children are learning in school. If Planned Parenthood, the PTA, and other pro-abortion organizations have a foothold in the school (almost a sure bet), you must be particularly careful. Of course, the best way to free your children of unwanted bad influences is to teach them yourself at home. Virtually anyone can do a good job of homeschooling, which is described in detail in Chapter 114 of Volume III.

• attend church with your children. Parents who send their kids to Sunday School while they sit at home and watch television are sending an inconsistent and hypocritical message that will eventually cause trouble. The family that attends church together will hang on to its faith together.

• try to get your children involved with Christian friends and organizations. Nothing destroys faith faster than to be involved with non-believers.

Managing Psychological Stress and Strain.

Introduction.

Every pro-life activist who has been in the movement for some time knows that stress is just an inevitable part of the job. This is particularly true of those in leadership positions, regardless of the type of activism they are directing.

An accomplished leader should be able to identify the sources of stress and the symptoms of psychological strain, both in himself and in other activists, and should know how to deal with them quickly and effectively.

This section describes stress (the pressure brought to bear on an individual), strain (the negative effects of stress), and the methods that can be used to identify stress and relieve strain.

The Definition and Sources of Stress.

Psychological stress is pressure or force, either internal or external, exerted upon an individual. It may take many forms. External stress ranges from physical violence committed by pro-abortionists to ridicule in the local press to indifferent and patronizing behavior displayed openly by pastors and others who should be actively involved in pro-life activism but are not. Internal stress is created by the activist himself, generally when his expectations, both for the pro-life movement and for himself, are not met.

The various types and sources of psychological stress are listed in Figure 28-1.

FIGURE 28-1
SOURCES AND TYPES OF PSYCHOLOGICAL STRESS AND STRAIN SOURCES OF PSYCHOLOGICAL STRESS

1. External diffuse (indirect) sources those that target the pro-life movement
    as a whole.
        a. Pro-abortionists.
        b. Related Neoliberal groups, such as organized sodomites,
            pornographers, euthanasiasts,
            the 'arts community,' and alleged 'women's rights' organizations.
        c. The court system.
        d. The atrociously biased media.
        e. Indifferent or hostile clergy.
2. External focused (direct) sources those that target the individual
    specifically.
        a. Immediate and extended family.
        b. Well-meaning friends.
        c. Co-workers and fellow churchgoers.
3. Internal sources generated by the individualhimself.
        a. Self-imposed deadlines and standards.
        b. Self-doubt.
        c. Doubts about the philosophy, goals and methods of the pro-life
            movement.

TYPES OF PSYCHOLOGICAL STRAIN

1. Temporary or less severe symptoms of strain.
    a. Temporary burnout.
    b. Strained family relationships.
    c. Persistent irritability and impatience.
    d. Problems with getting to sleep.
    e. An overpowering sense of doom or impending disaster.
    f. An excessive tendency to take some degree of personal responsibility
        for the abortion Holocaust.
    g. Obsession with abortion coupled with a decreased ability to 
        concentrate on other matters.
    h. Alienation of pro-life friends and strained relationships with other 
        friends.
    i. Impaired job performance.
    j. Excessive fatigue.
    k. Loss of perspective.
        (1) 'Messiah complex'
        (2) Feeling of personal worthlessness.
        (3) Feeling that the movement is failing.
    l. Extreme and persistent degree of irritation and anger at uninvolved
       churches and individuals.
2. Permanent or more severe symptoms of strain.
    a. Permanent flameout.
    b. Hostility towards former movement (and, in very rare cases, conversion
        to the 'other side').
    c. Seeking approval, understanding or solace outside established norms of
        Christian behavior (i.e., adultery or fornication).

Any Christian activist no matter what his field of endeavor will face a degree of stress that can generally be predicted by two variables: The type of work he does, and the amount of time he spends on it. People who fight abortion, pornography, euthanasia, and 'gay rights' movements must battle entrenched and organized opposition, and therefore face a much greater degree of stress than those who work against problems such as hunger and poverty, where there are no loud and obnoxious bands of Neoliberals battling them every step of the way. In fact, most pro-life and pro-family activists can actually use stress as an accurate indicator of how effective their activism is. After all, if they were not hurting the opposition, there would be very little stress exerted upon them.

It is very important to note that the pro-life movement is usually not be the sole source of an individual's stress. Other sources of stress include the job and family. It can be very difficult for a person who is suffering from stress to distinguish between the various sources of his anxiety and worry. He may not modify the level of his pro-life activism from month to month, but changes in his situation at work or at home might suddenly increase the stress being placed on him. In such a case, backing off from his activism may or may not relieve the strain.

The Definition and Types of Strain.

Where stress is the force exerted upon an individual, strain is the actual deformation or fatigue of a individual's normal personality and psychology caused by the stress.

People with different personalities and degrees of belief in their cause will react very differently to identical degrees of stress. An experienced activist with a naturally aggressive personality who believes almost blindly in his cause will be able to take an almost unlimited amount of punishment without undue strain, while a timid individual who isn't sure of himself and doesn't have much experience may be frightened off the field of play at the very first sign of pro-abortion aggression.

Personality and experience differences aside, it is a very rare individual indeed who can endure a high level of stress for a long period of time without really beginning to 'feel the heat.' The key to remaining effective is being able to recognize the beginning stages of strain and being able to counter them before they damage the individual's marriage, livelihood, or activism.

Unless the sources of stress can be identified and countered, progressively more severe symptoms of strain will result. These symptoms vary from temporary burnout and irritation to permanent damage and alienation. If an activist is suffering from two or more temporary symptoms of stress, it is time for him to take active remedial measures.

The major symptoms of psychological strain are listed in Figure 28-1.

Dealing With Strain.

It is vital for each activist to recognize that there is very little that anyone can do about the external stress caused by pro-life activism short of leaving the movement altogether. The pro-aborts aren't going to quit they will always be with us, and they will always be deceitful, wicked, and cowardly. We will always have indifferent pastors, a hostile press, and prejudiced court systems. Therefore, anyone who opposes abortion will inevitably be attacked by these entities to varying degrees.

This means that anyone who intends to stay in pro-life activism must be able to identify the symptoms of strain and be able to effectively neutralize them. Otherwise, the strain will continue to build, and progressively more severe symptoms will result.

There are many things the activist can do to lessen strain. This can be done in one of two general ways. If the type of stress can be readily identified, it may be possible to defuse it directly.

For example, an activist may be suffering from recurring doubts about his own effectiveness, and eventually even begins to question the goals of the pro-life movement. A few hours of examination and reflection, and consultation with knowledgeable friends, may reveal to him that this type of strain is probably being caused by a relentless bombardment of local media propaganda and sustained criticism by family members.

The activist may deal with this strain by finding a real pro-life pastor and discussing with him whether or not the goals of the pro-life movement are Christ's will. He may review the Church's past and recent teachings on abortion. He may also wish to list people whose lives he has positively affected with his pro-life activism. And, if he has saved the life of a baby through sidewalk counseling, picketing, rescuing or CPC work, he might visit the child or send him an anonymous gift.

On the other hand, if an activist cannot identify the source(s) of his strain, he may seek to lower his level of strain generally. There are many ways to do this;

• Everyone needs to "step back" once in a while. A "mini-vacation" (a weekend away) each three months helps immensely. These should be separate from scheduled annual vacations, which can be a source of stress in themselves. Even "micro-vacations" (an evening out for dinner and the movies) can relieve strain quite effectively.

• Temporarily step the degree of activism down until the symptoms of strain decrease (i.e., handing off leadership duties to someone else for a while).

• Temporarily change the area of activism until the symptoms of strain decrease (i.e., switching from picketing to CPC or research and writing work).

• For Catholics, take advantage of the tremendous grace that the Sacraments have to offer, particularly the Sacrament of Confession.

• Find a good spiritual director and let him advise you on at least a monthly basis.

• Establish and stick to a fixed time of prayer every day. If the time is not fixed, it will tend to drift and will eventually be lost in the shuffle.

• Try a non-stressing activity in an area that you enjoy that may or may not have anything to do with pro-life activism, depending on your needs (poetry, gardening, cuddling newborn babies at a local hospital with a volunteer program).

• Share feelings and fears with other families who are sympathetic and are good listeners.

• Spoil your kids (or someone else's) with a special treat or day out.

• Derive inspiration by reading the lives of the saints whose lives are relevant to pro-life activism. Some suggestions: Saint Maria Goretti, Blessed Margaret of Castello, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, and Pope Saint Pius XII.

• Contemplate and name your guardian angel and know that he is always right by your side.

• Teach religion to your kids.

We must remember that, as Christians, our first priority is God; our second is our family; and our third is ourselves and the pro-life movement. Any kind of high-profile pro-life activism will cause strain on a family, but sometimes this strain is good because it gives an excellent example and prepares children for the world. The trick is to recognize when strain is causing real and lasting damage and to know when to 'back off' for a while.


References: Principles of Leadership.

[1] St. Ambrose, quoted in Douglas Johnson. "Henry Hyde's New Book "For Every Idle Silence;" Insight and Encouragement." National Right to Life News, February 13, 1986, page 10.

[2] Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, quoted in Marlene Maloney. "Cults and the Family: The Leaven of Herod, the Leaven of the Pharisee, and the Sacking of Nazareth." Fidelity Magazine, March 1989, page 19.

[3] Father John Powell, S.J. "To Be Prolife Is To Make Our Love Unconditional." National Right to Life News, January 6, 1983, page 26. Also available as a reprint from the National Right to Life Committee


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This is a chapter of the Pro-Life Activist's Encyclopedia, published by American Life League.


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