Monday, June 29

The sun never sets on KD sisterhood

Just recently I attended a weekend retreat with sisters of the Delta Eta chapter of Kappa Delta. There were some "old" sisters I remembered and some sisters who pledged after I had graduated from USF.

I was there at the behest and encouragement of my sorority little sister, and I went with some reservations about how well I would fit in. After all, I never married and I have no children. I have found that when I am with women around my age, the conversation inevitably focuses on family, children, and grandchildren so I can only listen as I have nothing to contribute. But I also take my camera because, if nothing else, I can take pictures.

Several of the sisters have been far more involved with and connected to the sorority post-graduation. In fact, to be honest, I scarcely glance at the sorority magazine when it comes to my house. There is an alumnae group of KDs in my area and I have made half-hearted attempts to get together with them, but my reluctance is informed by the same sense of a lack of true connection. My interests, passions, and lifestyle (never married, no children; I'm sure there's an acronym for that) just don't ever seem to align with most of the women.

But, that's not the point. And I was reminded of that this weekend when I gathered with these women, these sisters, for a weekend with the theme "The sun never sets on KD sisterhood." Did I spend a lot of time just listening? Yes. But I also remembered the songs we sang which are the songs they still sing. I remembered the difference my "class" made when we made a tiny inroad into diversity history, and I'm pleased to see that trend continues.

More importantly, because of the sisterhood, we instantly shared something. When I was in college, that was all rhetoric. I was too young to think about lifetime relationships. But now, nearly 40 (!!!!) years later, I truly understand the power of lifetime relationships.

I have been fairly close to my sorority little sister over the years, but lost touch with many of those in her pledge class. Memories flooded back when I saw again the faces of Barbara, Karen, Denise, and Angie. More memories were dredged up as we "remembered when" and recalled not only times but names. Synapses struggled to reconnect but did so, perhaps falteringly at times, as the younger sisters sang songs that have not passed my vocal cords in decades.

By Friday night not only had I reconnected with women who were precious to me, but I made connections with women who have become more significant for me. There were no strangers, only unfamiliar faces and names. I am so delighted to have reconnected with that pledge class and to see the women they have become and are. I am equally delighted to have met new sisters and to have begun to form relationships that may deepen into friendships.

In life, not all of us have siblings or strong and deep relationships with our siblings. That's not what KD sisterhood is about, and I had forgotten that. On the USF Kappa Delta web site, the reasons for being a part of the KD sisterhood are simple. "Members encourage each other to be their best selves and hold each other accountable. Best of all, the Kappa Delta experience allows members to meet and learn from others with different backgrounds and interests."

So much of the Kappa Delta tradition reinforces that and this weekend retreat reminded me that not only does the sun never set on KD sisterhood, but reinforced the truth of AOT.

Monday, June 15

Slippery Slope from Helping to Enabling

At what point does helping become enabling?

I like to help. Most of the time. When it comes to help people manage their technology, especially when they're trying to set up for a presentation, I'm more than willing to try to help them troubleshoot.

There are times, however, I find myself "helping" colleagues and then wonder if just maybe they could have done whatever themselves or if I would have served them better by showing them what to do the next time. There are situations in which time is a factor and it is just easier to do it. There are other times it's clear the individual doesn't really want to know and I realize I'm just going to get called again, that I've contributed to a situation of learned helplessness and I've definitely crossed the line from helping to enabling. It's not even about being thanked when I help, or the occasional sense of entitlement from those asking for help, though I admit the latter is grating.

I did a little research on the difference and, sadly, almost all of the articles and examples are about various forms of addiction. But I gleaned enough to realize that when I do not allow or expect someone else to develop a capability they could easily have, then I've enabled them not to learn. Of course, as I just said, there are those who just don't want to learn. In those cases, I may have to take more drastic actions so as not to be expected to be at their technological beck and call.

Here's what's also interesting to me. Most of these folks are educators. It reminds me how rarely we see behaviors and attitudes in ourselves that we do not or cannot tolerate in others and certainly do not want to permit in our classrooms.

Educators are constantly fussing about students not taking ownership and responsibility of their learning. Yet, when a teacher asks for help for the same thing over and over again, that teacher is modeling a different behavior. Kids figure that out. Fast.

So I will continue to help when and where needed. I will, however, raise my expectations that those I'm helping will learn some of the fundamentals I've done repeatedly for them, or just go deaf when they call my name.

Monday, June 8

Game of Thrones: A Perspective

My most important disclaimer: I've not read the books. I started to but, quite honestly, it's a big series and I really didn't want to be disappointed if I loved the books and the show didn't emphasize whatever I thought was important.

I've been following the online outrage when something doesn't follow the books, though I find it absurd to think that everything in each of those books could possibly be included in the show. Peter Jackson had to make choices with The Fellowship of the Rings and subsequent films. It's not as though the Game of Thrones showrunners have that much more time.

But I have to say that the whole Ramsay/Sansa marriage consummation scene was much ado about nothing. It was tastefully filmed and it should have come as no surprise that Ramsay would not make love to his new bride. It came as know surprise that he wanted to show off in front of Theon, to make them both suffer. Although why the camera spent so much time on Theon made no sense. Maybe it's because his suffering continues at multiple levels?

The most recent episode of Game of Thrones was, in my opinion, even more ado about nothing. I was more disturbed by what's-his-face insisting on a young girl than some of the other stuff, which was blandly predictable. Sure the Sons of Harpy was a smidge of surprise, but not really. That Dany reunited with Drogon was nice, but that whole arena segment was underwhelming. We got to see that Dany still loves Jorah, that Daario is a wise ass, that Tyrion can hold his own, that the Unsullied are apparently less daunting that we were led to believe. But we knew at least one of the dragons had to show up some time, so that was as good a time as any because we know that Dany has to demonstrate her leadership, especially now that she has Tyrion to advice her.

People were upset with the sacrifice scene. Why? We knew that was coming a few episodes ago. The whole Stubborn Stannis plot line has worn thin. I no longer care. I think he's a dolt. I'm not sure what I was supposed to think he was feeling during the burning of his only child, but he didn't seem to be feeling much of anything. He bores me. I find nothing compelling about him. He seems more an annoyance and diversion to any meaningful action that anything important.

Jon Snow. He is a nice guy and I'm intrigued to see what might happen with the Ghost Walkers now that we've seen the rather terrifying results of losing a lot of one's army to them.

What I like about Game of Thrones is there are no clear-cut "good" guys. There are very flawed people who are trying to do the right thing most of the time, but who still have their own agendas.

What I don't like about Game of Thrones is the multiple plot lines because none of them can be treated with any degree of depth or focus. But because I haven't read the books, I don't know how well Martin interleaved or handled the multiple plot lines.

I agree with Jen Trolio (http://www.vox.com/2015/6/8/8748255/game-of-thrones-shocking-moments) that it just seems as though Benioff and Weiss are checking off plot points to get to the finale. My fear is that the finale is going to be chock full of all sorts that it will be underwhelmingly mediocre. But I'll watch it, and then I'll decide if I'm going to stick with the show which may have already jumped its ghost walker shark.