Today I want to talk about reputation in the SCA, and how important it is to have a good one. I have spent 21 years in the SCA (since I was 19) doing everything from being a belly dancer to a fighter to artist to Peer. I’ve come a long way, baby! In all of those 21 years, I have learned what it means to have a good reputation (both in and out of the SCA).
It’s quite simple, really. Just remember back to when you were little, and think about what you were supposed to learn.
Be truthful. Honesty is a big deal to me, it always has been. A friend of mine says that I will tell her when she has broccoli in her teeth when no one else will, as a euphemism for how honest I really am.
Play nice with others.
Be chivalrous, honorable, and use your manners.
Support (physically and emotionally) others.
Learn as much as you can.
Be thankful to those who taught you.
Be thankful and kind to volunteers.
Forgiveness is another good trait to have. Especially if there has been some sort of misunderstanding. It is always a good idea to go directly to the source of a rumor (if that person will actually talk to you about it, and they usually will), and see if it just a misunderstanding. Most often it is.
Also, never say anything to someone else about a third party that you would not say to that third parties face. I know gossip is a fun pastime for many, but it can also be hurtful.
Learn the art of the apology. Even if you don’t mean it (like when you were little and your kid sister was being a brat), make it sound like you mean it. It’s amazing what a genuine apology will do! Do NOT, however, say “I’m sorry but you made me do it.” If the other person did not “hold a gun” to your head, then they did not make you do it. (Even then you have a choice.)
I have a friend who has elementary school age kids (well, several, in fact). This particular one tell them she loves them, and also cheerfully tells them “Make good choices!” everyday when she drops them off at school.
All these things are common sense, but it never hurts to have a reminder every now and again. We are all human after all, and mistakes do get made.
Remember to make good choices.