I’ve added a few more photos to my GA 2007 set here. I am sorry that I left a little early (about half way through GA proper), but I have to confess that a week away from the family is getting harder and harder to bear. When you have a two-year-old boy (or girl) change happens pretty quickly, and Henry David was a discernibly different little fellow when I saw him on Saturday morning than he was the Sunday before. In case you don’t know how much travel a district staff job entails, here’s a quick rundown: four days away in August for a Board/Program Council retreat, five days away in October for the LREDA Fall Conference, six days away late November/early December for the Big Complex Meeting of District Staff, five days away in February or March for the Mid-America District Staff group meeting in Ghost Ranch, Arizona, six days away in April for the Prairie Star District Annual Meeting and religious professionals’ retreat, (which reminds me: four days away in October for the PSD UUMA Chapter retreat in Windom, Minnesota), and finally, seven days away in June for General Assembly, including the pre-GA business of a day of District Staff meetings, plus UUMA Ministry Days or LREDA Professional Day or UU University. If I’m doing my math right, that’s thirty-seven days a year away from home, and that’s before setting foot in a single congregation.
I’m not complaining, mind you. It’s just that what may seem to be a extraordinary opportunity (like going to GA every year) might also be seen as a stressor on one’s family system. Fortunately, both the UUA and the Prairie Star District have been wonderfully kind and have allowed me to reduce my hours to three quarters time for the last year and a half, and I’m hoping to keep working at that level for the next three years. Unfortunately, this hasn’t reduced my travel requirements by a quarter. If it did, I’d have only twenty-seven or twenty-eight days of required meetings. Maybe somewhere in all of this is a case for fewer required days away, in the interest of being family-friendly and in the interest of making this work more sustainable.