So to kick off my posts to this blog I thought I should start with a simple subject, what is service?
Now of course the question, what is service, is not a simple or easy subject to address, and I do not think that we will come to the end of this question with only one post. Which is kind of the point with using a blog, to give the space to post more times on a subject.
As I see it this blog will deal with subjects relating to questions such as what is service, what is service in the SCA? And perhaps why is service important?
The SCA and its Known world is usually said to rest on three legs, Arts and Sciences, the Arts martial and Service. It is said that for a three-legged chair to be level it needs that all of the legs are equal in length. In one way service is important to keep us level. But service for service sake is not really useful so we do also need the other legs to give meaning for the service.
Apart from being an activity, I do enjoy in the Known world, service is important as it is kind of the oil that keeps the machine going. Service deals with organising, building, maintaining, cooking, cleaning, hosting, running, meeting, fetching, solving and much much more. Service is about doing something for somebody else and for the enjoyment of others.
Service involves skill, service comes naturally to a few but most of us need to practice how to do service and find the ways that we do service in a good durable way.
Service needs to be voluntary in the Known world, we are after all a hobby. We should do service because we want to, sometimes we need to do it out of obligation or duty, but we should always avoid having service done out of guilt.
Service is about failure, firstly because something will always fail, and secondly if we do not fail we do not learn. It is not that we should plan to fail, but we need to be aware that something will always fail and that how we deal with failure is an important part of how I view service. To do successful service you need to have a learning environment that does not look for blame when something fails but to improve how we do things. Most people want to do good things, if you encourage and teach they will continue to do service if you blame them they will stop coming.
Service is about people. You do service with people and for people. This involves among other things dealing with communication and expectations. But it also involves yourself and finding a good service-recovery balance. I know that doing a lot of stuff can be fun and exciting, but I know that I also need to do recovery so that I can continue to serve.
Service is about yourself, as I said service should be voluntary and durable. We often talk about the helium hand ( helium hand is an expression for when you have a habit of raising your hand when there is a call for a volunteer even if you perhaps already have too much to do ) but it is important to know yourself and your limitations, this is no different from any other activity in the Known World.
Service like any good tool needs to be tempered to be durable and not break. It needs to be maintained and mended so that it can continue to serve for a long time.
Master Edricus Filius Offae