Effective Time Management = Effective Activism. #Truth

Effective Time Management = Effective Activism. #Truth

Everything that we do as anti-abortion activists has to be ordered towards one thing: saving babies.
However, if there is one thing I’ve learned as a former campus prezzy it’s that if you don’t manage time your time well you won’t be able to affect your campus, you won’t be able to save babies and you definitely won’t be able to function as an activist human being…

You have a lot going on. You have papers to write, classes to attend, eating to do, Facebook to browse, SnapChat to peak at. You’re busy, we get it. So act like it. Tell your time where its supposed to go. It is well within your control to do so.

You won’t function well as a human being (you are still human…)

#TruthTalk, you guys. When I was a campus pro-life prezzy, I was pretty terrible at managing my time. Often, on the days that we did activism I was so busy that I wouldn’t eat for most of the day. I would end up eating breakfast at like… 4 pm. Shockingly, not eating for a whole day is bad for you.

Our activism would often be planned somewhat last minute (I mean sometimes you have to do that when.. certain kinds of meetings or events take place that #ShallNotBeNamed that you suddenly found out about and must gather the troops to be at…) . Sometimes, we would just decide the night before or the week before what we were doing.

Looking back, I see how this greatly limited the growth of our team and how this exemplified poor leadership on my part. I was not respectful of my team’s time and as a result we had few members who were invested in our club , and it actually exponentially increased my workload causing me to be more stressed more often.

This led me to burn out for a period of time in my 3rd year. I needed to take off a whole semester from regular campus activism because, to be brutally honest, I was too disorganized to even manage my time!

I thought I didn’t need to manage my time in order to have effective activism. I thought that the activism was effective enough and if someone was bought in enough they would show up no matter what.

The reality is that a very small percentage of people operate like that. If you do as a campus leader, it’s because you are bought in – and I get it. . For most people, activism is something they have to learn how to do.  And in order to learn how to do it, they need to be given strong, organized and respectful opportunities to do it.

If you burn out, you won’t be able to do activism very well for very long. It’s that simple.

If you choose the ‘convenience’ of being able to do activism whenever you would like at the expense of a strong team, you are creating barriers between your campus and hearing the pro-life message effectively, and regularly… And that is on you. You won’t be able to affect your campus as well as you would like…

If you don’t choose to manage your time, your activism will be sporadic. Sporadic activism usually means disorganized activism, miscommunication, and more stress. And let’s be honest, doing activism at the last minute on a regular basis usually results in just doing activism less often.

You won’t save as many lives…

Why? Because you just won’t be around as much.

Let’s break it down:

if you aren’t there sharing the pro-life perspective, your peers will not be challenged.
if you aren’t there, making yourself available, your peers will not be challenged.
if you aren’t there, with a sharp mind and open heart, your peers will not be challenged.
And they will be more likely to choose abortion. #TruthBomb

Recently, at Simon Fraser University (Burnaby), the pro-life students were doing the QA (Question Abortion) Project. They talked to a student for a while about abortion. Before he left he said, “ Thanks for being here. I’m on my way actually talk to my friend and her boyfriend about their new pregnancy. Now I know what I’m going to say.”

Wow. powerful.

Here are some tools to help you become a better, more timely and more effective activist and human being:

TeamViewer for online presentations: https://www.teamviewer.com/en/use-cases/meetings-and-collaboration/

Boomerang #Trickster #ThereAreTwo
For capturing activism into a GIF: http://simplymeasured.com/blog/why-boomerang-what-this-app-really-means-for-social-marketers/#sm.00000lqc1p6z5dxluj92azwx94vr8
For managing club emails: http://www.boomerangapp.com/

Doodle:
For scheduling activism efficiently: http://doodle.com/

Google Calendar:
For making sure you all know when they activism or meeting is happening: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/google-in-the-enterprise/six-tips-to-manage-your-google-calendar-more-efficiently/

Google Hangouts
To communicate with your team wherever they are! http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Google%2B-Hangouts
(SIDENOTE: if you have a few minutes, also type “How to use google hangouts” into Youtube for some excellent entertainment)

Google Forms
To create important surveys for activism (but also pizza preferences) https://www.google.ca/forms/about/

Ultimately even using these tools requires you to make the commitment to manage your time better for your sake, the team’s sake and of course, on behalf of the babies.

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Shifting Identities and Challenging Consciences

By Josh MacMillan, NCLN Campus Coordinator

On October 20th I was present at a Flag Display organized by Laurier LifeLink. Despite the cold, rainy weather, by early morning 10,000 blue and pink flags, each representing 10 abortions, were planted in the Quad, a grassy square in the centre of campus. The question was posed: “What do you think about 100,000 abortions occurring every year in Canada?”

By mid-afternoon, we had an answer. A mob of students converged on the display, uprooting it, many claiming the display was shaming women, spreading hate speech, using ‘shock’ tactics, not welcome on university campuses, and/or just plain wrong to do. Regardless of their specific justification for their actions, the common sentiment was this: they wanted to protect the women on campus from experiencing trauma due to seeing this display.

This makes sense. No one in their right mind – pro-life or pro-choice – wants to see another human being suffer. When we see harm being done to another, we take action.

In the case of abortion, then, what action must we as pro-lifers take?

Paul Swope, author of Abortion: A Failure to Communicate, recognizes that pro-lifers care deeply about the lives of the pre-born. However, this does not mean that those in favour of access to abortion do not. An unplanned pregnancy inherently changes the identities of the people involved. She becomes a mother. He becomes a father. And that change can be difficult to handle as it alters the current identity a person has of themselves.

shifitng-identities

He continues to explain that abortion supporters look at an unplanned pregnancy as having one of three undesirable outcomes for the woman: motherhood, adoption, and abortion. Motherhood is undesirable because she might have other plans, such as education and a career. Adoption is dangerous because abandoning her child labels her as a ‘bad’ mother in society; it is also uncertain because the child may one day come looking for her, which may be difficult to face. The last outcome, abortion, by its very nature is an undesirable decision. But due to the gravity of the other options, it becomes a necessary “one of self-preservation … to the woman deciding to abort and to those supporting her decision.”

The pro-choice students who tore up the Flag Display were likely acting in the defence of the women on campus who made the choice to have an abortion. Consistent with Swope’s points, they likely see some students – or themselves – as having to make a hard, undesirable, but justified, decision.

With this understanding of the actions of those against us, Swope suggests that the pro-life movement should, when doing outreach, focus on pro-motherhood campaigns, as “[t]he pro-life movement’s own self-chosen slogans and educational presentations have tended to… focus almost exclusively on the unborn child, not the mother. This tends to build resentment, not sympathy, particularly among women of child-bearing age.” While he is right to criticize the pro-life movement when it does not address the issues surrounding an unplanned pregnancy, it cannot only be pro-motherhood, especially on campus. Focusing solely on pro-motherhood campaigns does nothing to challenge the notion of a ‘choice’ for the demographic most vulnerable to abortion – university- and college-aged women. We can and must offer women better choices, but failing to reveal the harm that one choice will cause to another human being does not challenge the consciences of our peers.

So how do we strike the right balance in showing we are pro-woman and pro-child?

Every outreach event the Pro-Life Student Movement does must have pro-motherhood and post-abortive healing resources available. We must also be better prepared to look into the eyes of our peers with their hurts and heart-breaking experiences and say, “I’m so sorry you are going through this… Can I put you in touch with someone who can help?”  This means integrating into all our discussions about the reality of abortion, the message of hope and healing, and making it as clear as possible that we want to help heal the brokenness on our campuses. We should always evaluate the ways we may have not communicated the pro-life message with love, and determine how we can do better. In doing this, we will be more able to affirm women in their identity, an identity that can include themselves as mothers, and challenge them to make the tough decision to defend the life of a human being – possibly their own child.

But even the hardest of truths said with love still hurts. We will be resented for standing up for the preborn, and we will experience backlash, just like we experienced at the flag display. We mustn’t fear sharing the truth and concern ourselves with preserving the pro-life image in order, as Swope states, to “regain the moral high ground in the mind of the… public…” It is the truth that will challenge consciences and, spoken with love, will open the door to dispelling the myths of abortion being a justified decision.

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Giving Thanks for Lives Saved

In mid-March, the pro-life club at the University of Saskatchewan hosted a pregnancy support table every day for one week. It was deliberately held one week before the university’s so-called “Pro-Choice Awareness Week.” Not only was the club a life-affirming witness on campus, but their efforts reverberated in the community. During the week, the pro-life team reached out to over 300 students: some had friends who were hurting either after abortion or a miscarriage, 1 was looking to adopt, and 3 were abortion-minded women who thought they were pregnant.

Club members were able to take one of these women to a pregnancy centre, where it was confirmed she was not pregnant. Throughout the journey she felt supported, and began to open up.

Then she told the club about “Anne.”

Anne was a friend of hers. Anne was pregnant, her baby 3 months old at the time. Anne was scheduled for an abortion the following week.

It was March 17th when one club member, Denae, became part of Anne’s story, asking friends, and friends of friends for prayer. Hundreds of people were praying for Anne and her baby. 

On March 21st Denae met Anne, planning to offer to care for the baby if Anne didn’t want to. However, upon meeting Denae, Anne shared that she had woken up on March 18th, and for no explicable reason had changed her mind about abortion.

Denae has encouraged and supported Anne throughout her pregnancy, helping her find a midwife, baby supplies, a local support program

On September 13th a little baby boy entered the world because of the club’s and Denae’s support. 

giving-thanks

Our NCLN staff are incredibly grateful for the self-sacrificing work of all our pro-life university students. There are many people this Thanksgiving who have even more to be thankful for because of your life-saving efforts. Thank you.
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On the Shoulders of Giants

We are thrilled to once again introduce our returning intern, Christine! Having served as an NCLN intern and as President of Queen’s Alive, the pro-life club at Queen’s University in Ontario, many of you can attest to her gift of leadership and her big heart. She has done amazing work with us and on her campus: saving lives through outreach, building a strong pro-life team, and assisting with NCLN project development.

A recent graduate, what’s next for this talented young woman? On the blog this week, check out Christine’s reflections on why she has joined our team as an intern again this summer.

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On the Shoulders of Giants: reflections of a returning intern

By Christine Helferty, NCLN Communications and Research Intern

In my first year of university, I was thrilled to finally have the opportunity to make a difference in the pro-life movement. I started outreach with Queen’s Alive before my first week of classes, unknowingly offering a club pamphlet to someone who was already a club member… Certainly I had the enthusiasm for the job if not the experience.

In my second year, I was excited to expand my knowledge of the pro-life movement, attending the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform’s Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) over my reading week and devoting time to the pro-life club student executive. During my third year, I took on the role of club President, and I couldn’t wait to start implementing new ideas such as weekly activism. My fourth year provided constant reminders that there were still many ways for our club to improve to get the results we wanted.

Now that I have done four years with Queen’s Alive, I think I am finally getting the hang of running a pro-life club on campus… just when I am graduating.

This gets me thinking. Why was I trying to reinvent the wheel all those years?

Did I honestly think I was the only one in our club to dream up the idea of weekly activism, or an updated blog, or a full executive council helping to organize events, or frequent meetings? Of course I wasn’t the first to desire those things or to discover that they would make a club work. And I certainly wasn’t the first to attempt to implement these dreams.

In retrospect, I spent a lot of time on campus figuring things out that have already been figured out.

Running a pro-life club isn’t rocket science – but it sure feels like it when there’s no guidebook and you have a full course load, other extra-curricular activities, family, friends, and everything else in life to balance.

And that’s why NCLN is the organization that I want to work for again this summer. NCLN has the experience and resources that fresh university students could never have: NCLN is the guidebook. I want to be a part of making this guidebook even more thorough and accessible for pro-life leaders on campuses across Canada. I want to help students stand on the shoulders of giants in this movement, so that when they dream for their campuses, they can see far past the hills I mistook for mountains.

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Looking Like Dad

By Joanna Krawczynski, Western Campus Coordinator

Photo credit: Josh Willink (Pexels.com)
Photo credit: Josh Willink (Pexels.com)

 

When I was maybe seven years old, someone had the audacity to tell me that I had my father’s features. My little princess heart immediately took offense – you mean I look like a boy?? As I seethed, my well-meaning relatives continued to coo over how much we’ve grown.

While I have not yet completely forgiven those adults, this gives me the opportunity to reflect on what it means to look like Dad – on a deeper level than simply remarking on the bend in my nose.

Recently, I rediscovered one of my favorite videos: a compilation of mind-blowing “Dad saves,” those moments when Dad defies even gravity to rescue a kid destined for disaster (or mild bruising at least).

Hilarious. And mildly frightening. There is also an irony in these “Dad saves” that I had never noticed before: in some cases, it is Dad who causes the danger in the first place. So, in these cases, rather than depicting “Dad saves,” these are Dad-mess-ups. Yet Dad is still regarded as a hero at the end of the day.

Mistakes do not have the final word in these stories.

Neither should they in ours. The video of “Dad saves” ultimately serves as a two-fold reminder for me this weekend: first, in spite of Dad’s mess-ups, he can turn around. Secondly, in spite of our mess-ups, Dad can still catch us.

I owe Dad for some amazing saves: the times Dad stayed up with a tearful me trying to study for my Math test; the times Dad got back into the passenger’s seat despite my repeated horrendous attempts at driving; the times Dad took us hiking so that we would get lost and learn to find our way; the times Dad held Mama tight to keep her heart from falling into pieces.

The courage of a man is often portrayed in popular culture as a reckless, exploitative exercise in brute strength for a man’s own interests. However, this Sunday we are celebrating something vastly different and far greater: the selfless, life-saving courage of a loving father.

Perhaps looking like Dad isn’t so bad after all.

From all of us at NCLN, rock on Dad! Happy Fathers’ Day!

Happy Father's Day!

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Introducing our NCLN Summer Intern, Maria McCann!

We at NCLN are so excited to have Maria McCann join us this summer as an intern at our Toronto office! She will begin her 4th year of her undergraduate degree this summer at Western University in London, Ontario (UWO). She is studying English Literature, French, and Italian. She is passionate about Shakespeare, science fiction, coffee, and every breed of dog known to man. Of course, she is also passionate about justice; in particular, she wants to see the injustice of abortion end in her lifetime.

Maria and her brother, John-Paul
Maria and her brother, John-Paul

Tell us your story and how you became pro-life.

My “pro-life story” began years ago with the birth of my little brother, John-Paul. He was born very prematurely, which caused him to have brain damage and numerous ensuing disabilities. He faces many challenges in his everyday life, as he navigates a world designed for the able-bodied. In spite of (or perhaps because of) his difficulties, he lives every day with an enviable joy.

He has truly taught me that life does not have to be perfect in order to be beautiful.

His very existence challenges the culture of death: a culture that says he should have been aborted before birth…a culture that now suggests that even born people like him are perhaps better off dead than disabled. For all of my childhood and adolescence, I understood the pro-life movement as important for protecting the rights of John-Paul and of other vulnerable people.

How did you get involved in your campus pro-life club?

Near the end of my second year of undergrad, some gentle nudges by the Holy Spirit led me to joining the executive team for Western Lifeline, the pro-life club of UWO. In 2015, several of us decided to attend NCLN’s Symposium, a “boot camp” for pro-life students. The weekend conference turned out to be life-changing for me, learning how to talk to people about abortion with both conviction and compassion.

I was deeply moved by their message that, with 100,000 pre-born babies being killed every year through abortion in Canada, this is not a movement. This is an emergency. That sense of urgency motivated me to engage in weekly activism with Western Lifeline. That sense of urgency motivated me to spend my spring break doing pro-life activism through the Genocide Awareness Project. And that sense of urgency has motivated me to join the staff of NCLN as a summer intern.

Why did you decide to spend a summer working with NCLN?

My experiences on campus have led me to believe that NCLN’s mission is crucial, as students are desperately in need of the pro-life message.

Changing our campuses and inspiring youth today will lead to massive changes in the future, when those young people become the leaders of our society.

On a personal note, NCLN has been a huge support for me over the past year in my work with Western Lifeline, and I want to be that kind of support to other student leaders. I am excited for the projects in store for this summer, such as weekly activism doing clipboarding and Choice Chain. I am eager to help develop new materials that will aid students in the coming year.

Where are you most likely to be on the weekends?

On the weekends, you’ll likely find me checking out thrift stores for vintage tops, or used bookstores to feed my reading addiction. If I’m not at a thrift store or bookshop, I’ll be getting coffee and froyo with friends, or watching reruns of Doctor Who.

If you could be any person in history, who would you be?

I have a pretty specific time and location in mind. I’d love to be a modern-art lover in the early 1900s in Paris. It would be the epitome of cool to sit in a parlour chatting with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso—the cult figures of literary and artistic modernism. I would basically be their groupie.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

I would love to spend a summer touring Italy, especially Tuscany. I have been learning Italian for the past couple years and would like to put my learning into practice. The Italian language and culture are so beautiful, and I want to taste some authentic Italian cuisine! It would also be amazing to see Rome, a city steeped in history.

Send Maria a welcome note! Write to us at info@ncln.ca

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Ontario Campus Tour!

Our Executive Director and Central Campus Coordinator, Anastasia & Clarissa, are in the midst of an exciting month of visiting pro-life campus clubs as well as right to life groups across Ontario! Below is their schedule for the remaining two weeks. Contact them if you’re interested in joining them in activism on campus or for their presentations!

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Visits with UTM, Durham, York and McMaster!

15 – Walkerton Right to Life, Hanover: Reaching Campuses, Changing Canada: Mobilizing a Generation of Pro-Life Leaders who are Transforming our Culture. 7:30 p.m. Hanover Public Library (451 10th Ave).
18 – University of Windsor
21 – Cornwall: St. Joseph’s High School presentation
22 – University of Ottawa
25 – Brock University/Niagara College
25 – St. Catharines Right to Life Pro-Life Coffee House. Reaching Campuses, Changing Canada: Mobilizing a Generation of Pro-Life Leaders who are Transforming our Culture. 7:00 p.m. at The Heritage Christian Bookstore Cafe (400 Scott Street, Grantham Plaza, St. Catharines)

Hope to see you there!

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As you celebrate…

As you celebrate…

Here’s a playlist to keep you singing and dancing!

Complied by Joanna Krawczynski, Western Campus Coordinator

We’ve got so many reasons to celebrate: Christmas, the New Year, Kathleen and Jesse’s wedding…(T-2 days!) Here at NCLN, celebrations and dance parties always go hand in hand. Always.

To help you get your groove on, here are some sweet tunes that we will have on our playlists as we celebrate with our families and friends.

And – extra bonus! Each song carries a message that we hope you feel that you can be loud and proud about. Please note that while we enjoy these songs, they are still relatively new to us, so if a lyric lets you down, let us know.

It seems that there are only a few songs kicking around these days that have a positive message AND sound good, but we’ve learned that it just takes a little digging to find them. Trust us, and enjoy! All the best for 2016, from all of us at NCLN!

New Years - photo courtesy of pixabay.com

Love Life, John Mamann ft. Kika

This song has a happy tune, pairing well with a beach getaway and lots of friends. Plus it’s in both official languages, so if you’ve been wanting to learn, here’s your chance.

Beautiful, Mali Music

A slower song, sharing the story of a dancer who finally recognizes her true value and beauty, things which go beyond merely the physical.

Amazing Life, Britt Nicole

Super bouncy. This one is for those of us who enjoy techno or remixes!

The Nights, Avicii

Let’s admit it, the wisdom of our parents is worth remembering… and dancing to…

I Lived, One Republic

About living life with all that we’ve got, even when it hurts, but always worth it.

I Feel So Alive, Capital Kings

A pop-y song celebrating a fresh start, one you will easily be singing along to within the first thirty seconds.

This is Living, Hillsong Young & Free ft. Lecrae

Another pop-y sounding song, celebrating the Christian understanding of life in Christ.

Song for My Unborn Son, Sam Martin

If you need to chill out, listen to this. Every time I turn this on, the song gives me happy goosebumps (yes, that’s a thing).

Home, A Guy and A Girl

This song is by our very own Kathleen and her soon-to-be-husband –  keep them in your prayers as you enjoy their sweet song!

P.S. Have your own favorites? Send ‘em over! As the saying goes, sharing is caring…

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