“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” – Albert Einstein

Kat asks:

Do you feel a certain apathy growing in our kingdom? And what can we do about it?

This is obviously an SCA-related question, but the answer about large group dynamics and politics is applicable to any large volunteer organization really – you may want to read it even if you aren’t in the SCA because you may find a bit of resonance if you have every been invovled with a church group or hobby group of any kind.  We just dress differently, but the dynamics are eerily similar.

 The answer to the first question is – no, I don’t. 

 This is not to say I don’t think there are issues, but I don’t think the root is apathy.  I think it is discontent.  I think the root is that we have become a Kingdom of “waiters”.  And I don’t mean the kind that bring you iced tea and remove your plates.

This is a thing that we inherited in part from our parent Kingdom.  Meridies has always been a place of strong personalities amongst the Peers, and these personalities shaped the Kingdom identity more than any other factor.  Because Meridies became a Kingdom rather by default, not design, it did not experience the strong groundswell of cultural identity seen in the birth of other Kingdoms.  This has led (as these things often do), to both Meridies greatest strengths and it’s greatest weaknesses. 

Meridies is notable for it’s incredible acceptance for diversity – largely because it has never experienced one over-riding Kingdom identity.  Believe me, this is a good thing.  A great thing.  It’s one of the things that has made our populace friendly and hospitable. 

But Meridies, with a notable lack of strong cultural guidance, has always looked upward for it’s leadership.  They have been, historically, a top-down kind of Kingdom.  Things don’t really “develop” as much as they are decided on by the Crowns or influential Peers and adopted by proxy.  Individual “pocket” areas develop very strong identities, but they don’t tend to permeate Kingdom-wide unless consciously enacted by law.  Laws are made by Crowns.  Crowns often disagree.  Meridies establishes traditions by fits and starts.

Gleann Abhann WAS one of those pocket areas.  We do have more of a ground-up personality.  More.  But not entirely.

We still tend to hold our breath and look toward our leadership to tell us what to do.  We need “official” benediction before we act.   And this permeates a bit farther than it should.

There are lots of dynamic people with lots of really, really good ideas out there.  But they are waiting for somebody to TELL them how to make them happen. 

Stop.

Folks – I have a super-secret Peerly thing to tell you.  It ain’t bloody brain surgery.

If you have an idea, and you can convince enough people it’s a good one, it has a way of happening.  Even without the help of us Peers and sometimes in spite of us.

If you have a vision – make it happen.

Don’t wait on us, because the truth is we are waiting for inspiration.  Your inspiration.

We have raised a Kingdom of people who seem to think that leadership is something that magically gets dropped on you with the regalia of the Peerage.  That somehow we become magically imbued with the wherewithall to make things happen.  I think some of my compatriots in the Peerage believe it.  Not to tear the curtain away, but it simply isn’t the way it is. 

This isn’t to say we don’t have something to offer.  Peers didn’t become Peers by accident.  Our Peers are a deep well of experience that is all-too-often untapped.  You would be amazed at what they will do if you just ask them and how much easier their experience can make a complicated endeavor.

But they are more of a well to draw on than a geyser that spontaneously springs forth in bursts of creativity.  And most of us have been doing this for a long time.  We get into a pattern of “what works,” not necessarily “what is possible” or even “what is ideal”.

So – you have already gone to your local Peer and got the cold shoulder and you still want change?

YOU make it.

You want prettier tournaments?

YOU bring out your best.  YOU make your five-yard banners.  YOU get rid of your camp chairs and sneakers and beer cans in favor of wooden benches and turnshoes and pottery beakers.  Stand by the field in all your finery to respect your fighter.  Do all reverance and respect to your inspiration and your Crown.  Love your Kingdom.  Display her badge.  Cheer loudly.

 Yes, we may set bad examples – so set a good one for us.  Raise the bar.  Up the stakes.

I grant you my permission to be better than I am.  In fact, I DARE you.

 Come on.  Don’t wait for us.  Shame us.  We will be the better for it.

February 21st, 2007 at 11:00 am
3 Responses to “I wish it were that simple”
  1. 1
    Sheila Says:

    Still thinking in song….”I’m starting with the woman in the mirror” I’m asking her to change her ways. Leading by example goes such a long way. I think people want the pretty, but it just doesn’t always fall into place to get it/do it.

  2. 2
    Kat Says:

    (grin)

    yeah, I think it’s time I became a personality again… instead of worrying how it will reflect on the office.

    Oh, yeah. What office.

    (grin)

  3. 3
    Salih Says:

    That is one of the best SCA posts, I’ve ever read.. I’ll agree, is so much different, looking from within the peerage, than from lookin outside!! I’ve learned so much in the short time, I’ve been elevated…. whew… I have so much more to learn & welcome the opportunity!!