Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Some Thoughts on Peers, Associates, & Their Relationships - A Response

So my friend Illene, Baroness of Darkwater and a pretty nifty lady, posted this article today in her long forgotten blog (on a side note, hopefully this means she'll start blogging more!). It's a long one, primarily dealing with SCA shtuff but a good read if you have the time to scan through it. I was originally going to discuss my N1Z project today (for more info head to http://www.notonezombie.com/ ), but I felt like responding to her blogpost and answerin the question poised by her.

Here's a question for those of you brave enough to read to the end - what do you think makes a good peer, and/or a good peer-associate relationship?

Seeing as I am an apprentice to a Laurel here in the SCA, I felt inspired and almost required to find an answer for this question. I mean, before I took the belt from Mistress Madhavi I sat down and spent time figuring out what I wanted from our peer-associate relationship and what I wanted out of a peer. Hell, it was a question she required me to answer before taking me on as a student! But more often than not, this question is one that's never really asked or visible  to others outside of the peer or associate. I guess it can be seen as a private thing, but for me I find it a fascinating share and a great discussion topic.

As to what I think makes a good peer...they are a well-grounded person who has a passion for their focus and a desire to hare their knowledge. A good peer is someone who doesn't rest on their laurels, but someone who continues to learn and grow to be the best peer they can be for the kingdom. It is someone who understand that they have just as much to learn from teaching an associate, as their associate has to learn from them. Someone who understands that breaks need to happen and in the end its just a hobby, abet a fun one. Someone who will be like family towards their associates, because in a way they kinda are becoming as close as.

Side tangent, I'm personally not into the calling your peer Mom or Dad thing. Not that I think there's anything wrong with it, I just know I have enough mommy/daddy issues that I wouldn't want to put unrealistic expectations upon my Laurel for their behavior issues :p. Madhavi, at my belting, called me her little brother and I am happy enough with that.

As for a good peer-associate relationship...its whatever works for the peer and associate. There is no correct answer, because each relationship is going to be different to better serve the needs of the individuals involved. What I need from my Laurel (and what she needs form me in return) will be vastly different from what my friend Jake needs or my friend Lana needs. The best relationship is one what is fulfilling on both sides, both peer and associate are getting what they need emotionally/mentally/spiritually from the relationship and everyone's happy. If those aren't being met, then it's clearly not going o great now is it :p.

As an example, I like to tease and rib at my friend Jake for how he went about getting his yellow belt from Illene. For him, it was a formal process. There was a student contract, a big gathering of the Pelicans house, formal declarations and swag. For the belting it was done in front of a court with more fancy words and formalities. That's what works best from him and his peer, so that is correct. However, that's not what would have worked for me and Madhavi and it's something we both snicker about on occasion. I asked her on the way to a party at Gulf Wars to be her student, we later sat the next day watching her daughter fight and discussed it and what we both wanted/what it meant. We shook on it beneath that tree, and moved on with the process of getting to know each other. She asked me to take her belt while we both sat in the Ocala kitchen eating food, and later I was belted in a small private gathering of close friends and mentors. No formal words, no declarations or signs, just simple honesty and emotions and signs of mutual trust and respect. And that worked for us, that was the right thing for us.

So, for those who are reading this I highly suggest you hit Illne's blog and read it. Then answer the question poised, because I wanna snoop in and read your answers as well to learn and grow more ;).