Monday, January 24, 2011

An overdue reply

Our church was cancelled yesterday because of snow. 

Church snow day.  It was nice.  No offense Jesus--it is nothing personal.

Since watching the "Hoarders" show, I realize that I have a couple things I like to hoard. 

No, not cats.  Remember, we cleared THAT up last week.  Remember, it isn't my fault.

Nope, I figured it out. 

Office supplies and recreation paperwork/books.

I have a bachelor's degree from Utah State University in Parks and Recreational Management.  What is that, you say?  Party Throwing 101.

Of course I could run a golf course, mow football fields with grass with wacky designs (helloooo, it is called Turf Management) or run a swimming pool that never will make money (swimming pools and ice skating rinks NEVER make money...that is why water parks cost so dang much to visit).  See my vast skills and knowledge I have tucked away in my head?

And in my basement.

So, yesterday I had a small heart to heart with myself and cleared it all out. 

Let me show you my proof:
this is the first recreation notebook I ever had
--as you can see, I have kept the binder for 25 years

Before the wonderful world of GOOGLE, recreational ideas and learning tools were not easily available. 

I spent years collecting and organizing ideas that could be found a moment's notice.  With my field, a great idea makes a great party.  It is all about the "idea."

This little AASG binder holds a lot of memories for me.  My first leadership academy/retreat/conference...first of about 20 I have been to so far.  I became buddies with the director who later baptised me into the Mormon church (shout out to Darrell and Linda).  I met a guy whose brother, Tiel, later became one of my best friends.  Still is.  As forementioned, I got my university degree in this field. 

A Dr. Phil "life defining moment" as evidenced above.

Binders or notebooks like this are a special treat for the participants.  They tend to hold leadership development ideas, as well as warm fuzzy motivational sayings, stories and quotes.  I have loved those LONG before those motivational poster people plagerized so many of them.

Clearing out these papers, I stumbled across one of those stories they had given us that August of 1986.  I still have it.  I thought you should read it.
A Letter to the Future Leaders of My School

I have wanted to write this for a long time but belonging to the class of people that I do it’s taken me a while. I do apologize—it’s been badly needed. Some people don’t even realize it, or maybe they just choose to ignore it, like they do us.

I am a nobody. I was never given the attributes that a leader possesses. We “nobodies” are the nation’s future “silent majority.” We’re the ones who carry the majority of the votes, then sit back to be led.

Only sometimes, we don’t sit back. We timidly raise our hand at a class meeting to volunteer for a committee, if we haven’t already given up trying. Usually we’re passed over in favor of a more “leader” type, whose been tried and found true. If we are picked (!) out of the faceless mass of nobodies sitting in our section, we’re supposed to feel privileged…and we generally do.

When we arrive at the planning meeting, the only one of our kind, the token of benevolence on the part of the “higher class” we find ourselves slightly out of place, and very uncomfortable. Those who do try to make us more at ease, more accepted, will forever have our gratitude.

Now I am a senior. I probably won’t ever have much of an effect on people, but if just one future “leader” remembers this, I’ll feel somewhat useful and very gratified.

Please take a little time to remember us nobodies. It’s true that most of us follow our leaders out of cowardly habit, but we will remember and have a certain amount of affection for those who took the time to treat us as human beings, not just potential voters or admirers. Those who can’t even spare a “thank you” when we compliment them on some achievement or even some article of apparel, will be forgotten as soon as possible. And those patronizing airs may bolster your ego, but they don’t go very far with a nobody.

This may, to some, sound bitter or trivial. I meant it to be neither.

Those “leaders” who laugh or ignore this, well…I feel sorry for you. You don’t even have sense enough to recognize yourself.

I remain as always….Anonymous
(written by a high school student from Texas)
The first time I read this letter I remember where I was even sitting in the lodge at the event.  It struck my heart that there were kids who really lived that way.  Who felt that way?  I was not one of them.  I was the kid she was writing to.

I was a leader. Me.  A girl from a small town place.  Did kids I know feel like that?  It made me feel uncomfortable.

Later, my senior year, I was asked to present at the National Honor Society Induction School-wide Assembly.  We had 900+ kids enrolled in school that year.  I cannot remember which honor trait I was asked to speak about, but I remember what I said.  Probably honor or something warm fuzzy....certainly not academics I am sure.  :)

I read this letter.  To the entire student body. 

Several people tracked me down after the assembly and days afterwards and asked me for a copy of the letter.  You wanna know which kids they were?  That's right.  The "nobodies." 

I was so happy to see this letter yesterday in my cleaning out. 

I have tried to live my life that a slogan from the Hardrock Cafe:  Love all, Serve all.  There are no "nobodies" when they are feeling loved.

If I could write a long overdue reply to Anonymous in Texas from 25+ years ago, I would be so happy to report on my progress. 

So, Anonymous high school student from Texas, your letter worked. 

It somehow got to a lodge in outside Wasilla, Alaska (yes, the home of Sarah Palin who was just graduating from high school that summer down the street a bit) into the hands of a girl from Soldotna.  A girl who is NOT known for her steller "members" (as the Girl used to say....Mom, you have bad 'members'--that was before I had had hundreds of should see my memory now--oh my!) but a girl who has never forgotten the line "they don't go very far with a nobody."

I recognized you were writing to me.

Your letter impacted me.  Influenced me.  Directed me. 
Thank you.
Your pal,

Unfortunately, there is no such motivational story when it comes to cleaning out and dealing with my love for office supplies.  :)