My Dirty Little Secret

I have a confession to make. You may hate me afterwards, but I can’t keep it inside any longer. (Actually, I can, but for the purposes of this post, we’ll pretend I couldn’t.)

I’m an FRG Leader.

There. I said it! I’m an FRG Leader and I’m proud of it!

Do you hate me yet? C’mon. You know you just threw up in your mouth a little. FRGs have the reputation of being only slightly less catty than an old school popularity contest between Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton. (Ah, those were the days.)

I knew this before I went in, but I wanted to be involved with the Guard and learn more about the military piece of my husband’s life, so the summer before his second deployment, I signed on as co-leader of the unit’s FRG. I really wanted the job of Communication Chair because I thought (and rightly so) that I’d be better at things like writing emails and newsletters and establishing social media venues than I would be at organizing and leading meetings.

My co-leader had been doing a phenomenal job at running an FRG that was based out of the middle of the state, but there was a need to branch out. The soldiers in T’s unit, as is the case in all the Maine Guard units, are spread throughout the state. I know it doesn’t look like it on the map, but Maine is actually a pretty big state. It’s about an eight-hour drive from top to bottom. Or you could probably snowmobile it in five, if you didn’t freeze first.

So it was that I was handed the job of creating an FRG in the southern part of Maine. We started having meetings the November before the unit left for Afghanistan and we had our last the November before they came home. When a unit is in non-deployed status, FRGs are required to meet only quarterly. Frankly, it’s a struggle to meet that often. There just isn’t much interest in forming bonds when the soldiers are at home.

You have to understand: this is the Guard. It’s not an Army base. This has both pros and cons for families. One pro is that Guard families already have friends and families that live around them. Most of them didn’t just move to the area so they aren’t necessarily looking for new friends or support networks. They’re in a place they’ve lived all their lives. The con to this is that when the soldiers do deploy, there is quite possibly no one within an hour’s drive that has any idea what it is they’re going through. It’s during this time they yearn for and need those connections. So that’s when the FRG is most active.

Ideally, we’d form these bonds before deployment and maintain them afterwards, but it’s tough, and not only because of distance (though that certainly is a major factor). Our unit in particular tends to have a high turnover rate. We also have a lot of very young soldiers that don’t have spouses. During a deployment, it’s their parents that need information and support. I had multiple meetings where I had in attendance: wives, parents, grandparents and young children. Talk about a diverse group. It wasn’t easy to plan meetings that would be relevant and meaningful to everyone, which is one reason I tried to keep things strictly informational.

Another reason, apparently, is that I’m a Gold/Green personality, according to Shipley Communication’s 4 Lenses Assessment.

This weekend, my husband and I attended the FRG State Conference. The first session on Saturday morning was “4 Lenses Training”, which turned out to be absolutely fascinating. At least for an analytical person like me.

What are the 4 Lenses? Well, according to Shipley Communication’s website:

The 4 Lenses™ assessment is a proven personality assessment which helps organizations build a solid understanding of the innate talent and potential of its individuals. The 4-Lenses™ instrument was created from the research of the Myers Briggs’ Personality Type Indicator, as well as David Keirsey’s modifications to this instrument in his book, Please Understand Me.

Basically, it’s a personality test that helps you understand and relate to others in a group, whether that group be work, family or the FRG. And it was really helpful. I won’t give away the full profiles of each of the four personality colors or how the test works in case you ever get a chance to do it (which I would highly recommend). I’ll just tell you each color’s assigned “word”:

Green: competence

Gold: structure/order

Blue: relationships

Orange: freedom

Color Arrows Vector

I was a Gold/Green and that’s pretty accurate. I’m OCD about order and structure. I’m organized and I make lists constantly. That’s the Gold. I’m also independent and a perfectionist. That’s the Green.

My husband was an alpha Green. So much so that his test numbers almost didn’t leave room for any other color, which explains a lot. He was literally off the charts. But he was sort of a Green/Orange-Gold, if that’s possible.

The Blue didn’t show up until third on mine and last on my husband’s test. Blues are sort of the nurturers who value relationships most. That’s not to say that we don’t value relationships, but in a work situation, we are very business-like and less social.

We decided that if we ever have a Blue child, we are going to mess that kid up royally. It would go something like this:

“Look, I know you’re only eight months old, but you’ve got to get over this teething thing. Suck it up and don’t be such a baby!’

Hmph. Come to think of it, I’m not sure that’s the right attitude for an FRG Leader, either. Maybe I should look into that communication position again.

What about you? Have you ever taken the 4-Lenses Assessment? What was your color?

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17 responses to “My Dirty Little Secret

  1. I never took the test, but I am sure that I am the pain-in-the-ass color.

  2. 4 lenses got you pretty close! I went to the link but you have to have a code… What color (s) do you think I’d be? plaid??lol

    • Yeah, you can’t take the test online, unfortunately. I’m thinking you’d be a Gold/Green, too, but I’ve still got the test booklets if you want to find out for sure!

  3. “The con to this is that when the soldiers do deploy, there is quite possibly no one within an hour’s drive that has any idea what it is they’re going through. It’s during this time they yearn for and need those connections.”

    That sums it up for the Reserve families too. When B left (back when I thought he was deploying), I was out of my mind. I don’t know any other military families and B’s unit is headquartered several states away.

  4. I’ve never taken that test but I have done the Meyers-Briggs. I love that kind of stuff! I’m glad it was so informative for you.

    And don’t worry…I was an FRG leader too. The FRG is never as active when the soldiers are home…even in Active Duty units. That’s just the way it goes. Congrats on taking on that role!

  5. I have taken it. I was Gold/Blue. The gold didn’t surprise me, but the blue did a little. FYI- I didn’t puke in my mouth at all. I’ve met my share of catty FRG women, but some of the very best people I know are very involved in their FRGs. I admire the women like you who take the time out of their busy lives to help out in that way!

    • Aw, thanks! From what I know of you, the Blue doesn’t surprise me at all. You are very sweet and have clearly cultivated many important relationships in your life.

  6. I actually loved our FRG when Rob was in the Army; granted, I never had to deal with the meetings. Our FRG leader totally recognized my legitimacy as a girlfriend and treated me just like she did the wives. This was a welcome change since so many of the wives saw me as “just” a girlfriend (despite the fact that I’d been with Rob longer than some of them had even known their husbands) but FRG was fabulous. So good for you! Someone needs to lead and I’m sure you’re great at it.

    • I’m glad you had a great FRG experience! Not all FRGs are bad, for sure. I said “wives” in my post, but to me that instinctively includes girlfriends. I was a “girlfriend” during T’s first deployment, so to me it is a given that whenever I mention spouses that gfs are a part of that group.

  7. I saw mom’s comment and was bummed because I love tests. Ok smarty pants what colors do you think I would be?

  8. I love personality tests like this – hope I get an opportunity to take this at some point, it sounds intriguing. I’ve done Myers Briggs & am consistently ISFJ – reading their analysis of that type is like reading my biography!

  9. Love the Myers-Briggs and obsessed with personality tests/assessments, basically surverys in general. If there are answer choices, sign me up! I’ll even bring my #2 pencil. I’m an INFJ and OccDoc is an INFP, so most of our arugments go like this:

    Me: Hey, OccDoc, why don’t you use the f*cking calendar once in awhile?
    OccDoc: The wha?

    I think you’d be a great FRG leader, mainly because I like you and other people like you, so any excuse to hang out with you would be a good thing. :) A word of advice, if the PROFIS doctor’s wife emails you while her husband is deployed with all the other husbands in a particular squadron, don’t tell the doctor’s wife her husband is part of the squadron and you can’t help her, even though the doctor is fixing up the boo-boos of her husband and all the other members of the squadron.

    It must be hard to do an FRG so spread out. The FRG would send me emails about their different events and whatnot, but they were all on post which was like 600 miles away from me. That’s awesome you would be able to get people to attend the meetings. Did you ever do conference calls? I kept asking our FRG to do a conference call or at least set up a conference phone during the meeting so I could call in, but I never got a response to my 3 emails.

    • Hahaha! Sounds like a conversation I’ve had with my husband more than once. Just substitue T for F and you’ve got our letters exactly. I did arrange conference calls for all of our meetings with the exception of the last few. I figured with distance and small children it would be a good thing. A couple of folks took advantage of it in the beginning, but participation eventually petered out so I stopped doing it. It’s too bad that the FRG for OccDoc’s deployment wasn’t much help.

  10. I love the FRG! I was the BTN treasurer and a key caller for my husband’s two units when we were back at Bragg. Now that we’re reservists, we don’t really have an FRG and I miss it. It gave me a good sense of involvement and I felt connected with the local military community.

  11. Hi, glad that you took the Four Lens! I have been following the thread and lots of good input. I have been teaching the Four Lenses since 2006. We did a group of FRG’s in our state and we are doing some more this winter!

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