Thursday, July 20, 2006

OK let's do some talking here

End of a long hot day, here in the world's tiniest office with no air conditioning. Let me take a stab at just a few memories from Senior High Conference.

It's always HOT. But not this year. Warm mostly with rain the first couple days. The rain was lots of fun the day the electronic entrance locks all died. With the entire conference outside! It also made our class time interesting since we're normally out doors. But we survived.

The kids decided to translate my name into Spanish. For no apparent reason. So I became Jota for most of the week. I'm usually pretty easy about this kind of stuff but they insisted on shouting it out every time they saw me. Which wore thin REAL fast. Finally I quietly asked one of them to drop it since it was starting to bug me (and we have a community rule that says we refer to people they way they prefer). No big deal, just a quiet request which I planned to repeat individually over the next couple days till it died out. Well the next morning at the big teaching session one of the girls greets me with a big "Jota!" and the youth I'd spoken with last night tells her not to do that since I had "yelled" at him the night before! Please be assured there is no way what I did could be construed as yelling. If only because it was last thing of the day and I was exhausted! So I quietly explained to the whole conference that I preferred the name my momma gave me and explained how much of our identities were tied up in our names. They told me that I'd said I liked the nickname (sorry, no) and got a little upset with me. I stood my ground and the "Jota" thing died out mostly. Not the way I wanted to handle it but it got the job done. Sheesh.

It's funny when I was a kid I thought my name was dopey. There weren't that many Jays out there (in elementary school there was one other, a really cute red headed girl! I'm not sure there were more than three of us in high school) In the end however it is my name and I should have called them on the name rule earlier rather than let it slide. I guess it's especially important to me because I'm NOT clergy. Most of the staff are, so they're Father John Paul, or Bishop Michael or Mother Ellen. I discourage the use of Mom or Pop (titles for adults working with our Happening movement. I do qualify for that) because not everyone has done Happening (or will) and that should remain part of that community. I know other adults who feel differently and I let them do their thing (again the name rule). So what I DO have is the name the Captain and his lady gave me almost 50 years ago. It's mine and it means ME. I don't know who the hell Jota is but I wish him well.

Of course that was the biggest problem we had (OK we had some organizational problems with the college and the whole electronic lock thing). And that's a very good thing.

I was very excited about the theme for this year and the program I led. I'll share some more about that soon.


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