The Epistle of Q — Chapter Eighty-Nine (Part B)

So why do people get together 55 years after they were actually significant personages in each other’s lives?
This elongated journey to and from APPE provided the opportunity for another Madoc’rs luncheon in Toronto. The first one happened some time ago and another was held in 2016 during Grey Cup week and brought together. The male characters included guys that played sports and participated in other activities at Madoc High (MHS) or were neighbours and there were a couple of former teachers. And while some of them would cross paths occasionally, most of them had not really seen each other, certainly as a group, since the early sixties.

This most recent gathering was to include a new member from that era, but unfortunately he came down with a bug and being a gentleman, did not want to share it. Another individual had a professional engagement at a major convention in town. Nevertheless there was sufficient number in the motley crew to carry on conversations for a couple of hours. The former teacher in attendance even brought a couple of high school yearbooks to share while one of the students who is now an author brought one of his books (as it deals with the early days of the town of Madoc itself).

But all this is a sidebar to my own reflection of the day. I was glad I went, but I believe the next time (if there is a next time) we need to agree on a theme in advance of our assembling for some good food and drink. I would like us to consider the following questions:

#1) What is one thing from your time at MHS that was a significant/positive influence in the success(es) you enjoyed later in life?

#2) In one sentence sum up your memories of attending MHS (including, but not necessarily limited too, people who made the time at the school special)…

I think the answers to these questions could make for a very engaging conversation. It seems to me that these guys (including the former English teacher) all have lived very successfully and it would intrigue me at least to gain some insight into how their experiences at that high school played into their vocational and relational lives. Re-unions are okay, but now that we’ve met and chatted, I have this deep curiosity to connect whatever dots there might be between then and now.

Perhaps this is because I am getting into the final stage(s) of writing my own book on my take on leadership and it has forced me to go a long way back to try to ascertain how my own vocational and relational life got its start and how much of it all links with my high school life. While I attended two different Ontario secondary schools, the first one while much larger than MHS didn’t have a major influence on me (perhaps because I left early in grade ten which was only my second year there).

This group includes a world class geologist, a very successful author, a couple of strong businessmen, a very good teacher and dramatist. Perhaps they really did it all after their time at MHS. Maybe in the case(s) of the very successful, they would have achieved much anyway, and high school was merely a stage they had to get through. But I’m not so sure and that’s why I’d like to convene the group at least one more time.. And if it does work, then it could be a useful template for many of us to use with a diversity of our late teenage years friend. Gaining such insights may even help us when we counsel our own grandkids.

My vocational life was so busy I seldom spent much time reflecting on my high school years. As a result did I miss out on the recognition that there were things that I actually learned that I should have drawn upon more often? Certainly in looking back I realize that my relational life did not get an adequate grounding at MHS. Perhaps had I come to that realization much, much sooner I might have made more appropriate decisions that would have permitted me to build as positive a personal side to my world as my vocational journey was.

Having a group of older, reflective guys gather to share their thoughts is not about trying to correct our own lives — it’s a little late for that. Rather I see such a moment as a way to learn more about the successful journeys of people who started out somewhat as peers. And then, upon reflection, I at least can share with my grandchildren these insights to help them ponder the choices, directions and opportunities they are confronting as they begin they individual vocational & relational journeys.

I think I will share this note with the fellow who organizes these gatherings and if he is in favour we could even try in later this spring when I am back in the east. It might be the last chance to pull it off. And, no matter the depth of the conversations, I believe it would be a very dynamic luncheon. And if it works, then I will let you know and maybe you could try it with some of your old high school peers. Certainly would be a more productive exercise that the ordinary re-unions. (You might even want to try it yourself this spring and we can compare notes in the summer.)

g.w.

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