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RVChat - December 2007
by Lori Norris

Holiday season is upon us; time to spend with family and friends.  For many of us in Mensa, they are one and the same.  As Russ Bakke has written several times in his columns, some of us are fortunate to find a Mensa family.  For me that includes actual family, as I met my husband, Ron, through Mensa.  That feeling of family extends further than to those I count among my close friends.  I’m frequently uncomfortable when I walk into a group of Mensans that I don’t know, but it usually only takes a short time to feel a part of the group.  Walking into an AG or RG is very much like attending a family reunion.  This past April, Ron and I attended the Toronto RG.  Seven years ago we had attended the Quebec City AG and we have also met a few of the Toronto members at a NH/ME or Boston RG years ago.  Isn’t it amazing how you can walk out of a conversation and pick it up again a few hours, months or years later?  Even those we met for the first time that weekend I now count among my friends and look forward to seeing them again.  We always eagerly anticipate meeting old friends and making new ones at gatherings, especially the Region 1 RGs.  

As for the rest of my family, even though my son Michael is not a member I’m sure he would qualify if he were ever to take the admission test.  I joined Mensa when he was 9 years and he frequently attended events with me, especially games nights and house parties.  He grew up being accepted and treated as an equal by adults.  I was impressed by his ability at a young age to interact with these adults on their level.  I believe a lot of his self-esteem came from this acceptance and having his opinions treated as worthwhile.  I frequently wonder what would have been different in my life if I had this level of acceptance from a similar bunch of adults when I was his age.  I definitely came from a family and a society that adhered to the principal that “children should be seen and not heard.”  What would have been different in my life if I had the support of a flock of accepting and stimulating adults?  Parents, please consider involving your children in Mensa events.  Some events are family friendly, others are appropriate for older children and, of course, there are gifted children’s events in many local groups.  If you don’t have children, borrow a niece, a nephew or a younger sibling.  Not only will the children benefit, but you may as well.  Recently, my husband hosted a children’s day at the Children’s Museum in Providence and I had as much fun as any of the children.  Five kids, ranging in age from 3 to 12, attended and I played and learned along with them.  After a couple of hours, I was ready for a nap.  I look forward to participating in future events and, hopefully, having the opportunity to watch and participate in the growth of these children.   

Best wishes to you, your family and friends for a wonderful holiday season. 

Lori

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