by Leigh Perry, Upsilon Lambda (U of Texas – San Antonio), Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee
“They say the sororities are more or less alike, but we were made to be different. And we are different.”
The first time I heard this on the Founders’ Storytelling* recording, I was struck by the emphasis Stella George Stern Perry placed on the word “different.”
When my Greek friends find out that I serve on an international committee focused on Ritual, they are fascinated. Apparently, we differ in that we perform our Ritual on a monthly basis. Some groups may only “do” Ritual as initiation. It’s interesting to see that frequently my friends are a little wistful about this. They immediately recognize the deeper connection that regular performance encourages, both to our organization and to ourselves. It is a monthly opportunity to reconnect to who we are and realign with this amazing guidance system for our lives, which encourages us to be our best selves. In other words, it is a framework for personal growth and development.
Myrko Thum defines personal development as “the conscious pursuit of personal growth by expanding self-awareness and knowledge and improving personal skills…and also the level of success in all areas of life, as defined by each individual.”
According to Wikipedia, “Personal development covers activities that improve awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, build human capital and facilitate employability, enhance the quality of life and contribute to the realization of dreams and aspirations… (which) takes place over the course of a person’s entire life.”
It sounds like a definition of our Ritual.
Expanding self-awareness, knowledge, and identity: We provide guidelines and encouragement for self-reflection, a commitment to discipline our own lives, while being kind to ourselves, to treat ourselves as our best friends do and to treat others as we wish to be treated.
We don’t define success for our members; we allow everyone the freedom to determine what that means for themselves.
Develop talents and potential: We provide a safe space to stretch ourselves outside our comfort zone, to try different roles, to learn and practice new skills.
Build human capital and facilitate employability: We are encouraged to think before we speak, to keep our own counsel and not share outside the group, and as Steven Covey encourages, “To seek first to understand then to be understood.” We learn to value and appreciate those who are not like us and work with them to achieve big goals. We learn life-transforming skills of how to be flexible, adaptable and how to talk to people of all ages.
Enhance the quality of life: When things aren’t working, we learn to look in the mirror and see what we can do to make the difference. We are reminded to be the light and provide the understanding that the world so desperately needs.
Want to become a better sister, friend or leader? Take the time to reflect on our Ritual and practice the guidance it provides. And when you do, you help the Founders’ realize their dream of “more to achieve, more to share!” – Stella George Stern Perry, 1952.
For any Ritual-related inquiries, please feel free to contact RT&J at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Made during the 1951 Convention, “The AOII Founders’ Storytelling Session CD“ is available on the Supply Order Form on the ORL.