Recognizing Skill and Good Works

dennis grace amazing at
Thu Oct 24 20:04:24 PDT 1996

Aodhan responded to Aquilanne (not Dennis/Lyonel)

>You insult me, in addition to misreading what I have written.  Certainly, she
>is derserving of being publicly thanked for her efforts, no matter how great or
>small those efforts were. What I am advocating is that *awards* need not be the
>only form of recognition we offer people.

I intended no insult.  No one has suggested that verbal, public thank-you's
or gifts of thanks are inappropriate or unappreciated.  However, your
continued adamant disparagement of awards is still frustrating.  If you have
a problem with so many awards being armigerous and needlessly cluttering up
the rolls, fine.  If you think one award is given out on an inappropriatly
frequent basis, fine.  But as I pointed out before, we live in a mundane
society that equates titles with accomplishment.  This is no fault of the
SCA, and even less the fault of the generous individuals giving of their
time and effort, and therefore deserving of recognition--recognition that
equates in some way to achievement systems most of us are familiar with
through the mundane society that we live in.  Allow me to clarify:

Let me draw a mundane parallel with academia.  In 6 months to 1 year (or
thereabouts), a certificate of some kind can be attained through many
vo-tech schools; 2 years for an Associate's degree, 4 to 5 years for a
Bachelor's degree, 6 to 8 years for a Master's, 7 to 10 years for a PhD.
Those numbers may vary from institution to institution and from individual
to individual, but are pretty much the "norm."  An individual moving through
the academic system puts in time and effort, and if they perform adequately,
receive their degree; if they perform exceptionally, they may make the
dean's list or graduate with honors or high honors, or be inducted into an
honor society(like phi kapa phi).

Most folk putting the time and effort into school appreciate and can be
inspired by complements from their professors, but would probably not
continue to work through the difficult years of school without the knowlege
that there should someday be a certificate on their wall that officially
attests to their efforts. Likewise with a mundane job.  One expects to get a
raise, be awarded more responsibility, move up in the ranks, etc., the more
time and effort they put into the job--and money is not enough.  Performance
recognitions, employee of the month placques, cetificates of appreciation
are all standard kinds of official "thank yous" that mean, sometimes, as
much or more than the regular cost-of-living pay-raise.  

>Was this lady deserving of an award?
>I can't say, not having witnessed the works she had done. I don't consider
>three years too long to wait for an Award of Arms.

I'll tell you what, if there had been a member of my barony who, for
whatever bizarre reason, had escaped some form of official recognition for
that many years of consistent service, I would have been ashamed. 

I've recieved no awards
>since my Laurel in '90 and no service awards since '86.  I have received enough
>public and private thank-you's and support that I felt my efforts were

If you have been playing for 11 years, and you already have an AoA, and you
already have service awards, and you already have a peerage and you already
have a coronet--you have to expect things to slow down a bit.  But folks in
their first few years need encouragement, and those who do well in what they
do, whether art or service or martial, deserve official recognition as  much
as you were apparently deserving of yours.  Rhetorical question (not a
flame, not an insult):  Would you give up your peerage?  How about the
coronet?  I would guess that you cherish them, just as I cherish mine, and
all the alphabet soup that I can list behind my signature--because we worked
hard, cared about some things, and--very importantly, people appreciated us,
and gave us something that lasts, and cannot be lost, stolen, or destroyed.
In an age where almost everyone has some level of insecurity to deal with, I
think that's one of the neatest things we can give them--a permanent
reminder of their worth.  Awards are more tangible than a simple verbal
thank-you, and more enduring than materialistic gifts.

>Have you received any awards since moving to Ansteorra?  (I assume not, but
>don't know.)  Have you been doing nothing since your moved to Ansteorra?  (I
>assume you've been busy as a beaver, but I don't know.) 

As a matter of fact, no, I haven't received any awards since moving to
Ansteorra. We got here three years ago, went to a couple fighter practices
and one event, and mundane concerns swept us away after that, so I have done
basically nothing SCA-wise since moving here until just recently (been to a
few fighter practices, a business meeting, and have been spending too much
time on the list), and can't possibly think of an award I'd be deserving of,
with the possible exception of a thank-you for *not* playing.  :>

>does not reflect the society we purport to portray adn should be modified so
>that it does.

And I am suggesting that to "reflect the society we purport to portray"--at
least with respect to the matter of recognition--is just not as logical as
recognizing people in a way that matters to the people playing *now*.  

Mst. Aquilanne

More information about the Ansteorra mailing list