In Jen's latest blog, she tackles one of the trickier subjects -- the issue of how as a little person, she feels about average height siblings and their average height friends attending the dances.
First, I have to say how refreshing it is to see someone actually answer the tough questions. It's great when someone doesn't dodge the questions people are asking even if it is a touchy subject for some. What is even better is Jen's answer is insightful and honest. Isn't it nice to be able to read someones thoughts on a subject and not come away thinking to yourself "Oh they're just saying that, but they really think something else"?
For anybody not in the loop wondering who this question could be referring to (at least as far as the people asking the question, Jen's answer is about all) -- let's take the mystery out of the anonymous names - the question is likely triggered by Jeremy Roloff and his friend Jacob Mueller who have been regular staples at the LPA conferences the last couple of years and are the most well-known Average height sibling and friend who attend the LPA conventions.
To give some background on this issue and most likely why this question was posed to Jen. Going back three, almost four years ago to the 2nd or 3rd episode in the history of Little People, Big World, it centered on Matt Roloff taking Zach and Jeremy, who were 15 at the time, to a Little People of America convention. This was back when Zach was shy and lacked confidence socially. He said he appreciated Jeremy coming because as Matt called him, Jeremy was the social magnet. Matt did express a concern that because Jeremy was so out-going that he ended up being the center of attention at the Little People Conference when it was supposed to be Zach's time. To Jeremy's credit, on camera he did say he didn't want to infringe on Zach's time with his LP buddies.
However, since that time, everybody has seen Zach's confidence grow and he obviously has no problems socially at the conferences. Jeremy still attends the conference and in recent years, Jeremy has brought his friends with him. Jacob Mueller attended both the Seattle 2007 LPA conference and the 2008 LPA conference in Detroit.
Here are some visuals:
Jeremy Roloff and Jacob Mueller slow dancing with two average height girls at the Little People of America dance.
Another one of Jeremy and Mueller whooping it up on the dance floor at the LPA convention.
Some people have wondered what exactly is the protocol with average sized friends attending the Little People Conferences and even what age do the average sized siblings begin to peel back. If that thought ever crossed your mind while watching and you wondered what the little people who the conferences are actually planned for think, Jen tackles this subject with a very in-depth and insightful answer.
Jen touches on all the issues I thought might be a factor. I had never thought about the aspect of LP guys trying to impress the average height girls at the dances as an ego thing (although Jen leaves it open that it may be her personal insecurity). I would think some of the LP guys (especially ones who might be not as out-going) might feel the same way about LP girls showering a 6 foot guy with attention at their Little People dance/conference.
It was also interesting to learn that the only LP friends Jen speaks to regularly is Zach Roloff and her other LP friend who she is close to is named Josh who is gay (for those that were wondering if there are any LP who are gay).
Here's just a bit of what Jen has to say. Visit Jen's Hope Sprouts blog for the full answer
"My gut reaction is wondering why random AP friends go to LPA conferences…
*Sometimes I kind of worry about voyeurism–are they just going to point and gawk. I am being totally honest here–this is my OWN insecurity–99.9% of the AP people I’ve met at the conferences are totally not there for that and are going to try and understand what it’s like to be small.
*They kind of take over the dance floor at times. And some of the guys pay more attention to them…again, is that just my jealousy talking? Did I say that outloud? But no seriously, I think there are a handful of LP guys who make a point of trying to get with tall girls at LPA conferences–it’s kind of an ego thing? What do I know?
*Sometimes I just want it to be about the LP buds that I rarely get to see and the AP’s that go with LP friends make the group “all about them.” Sometimes.
*I get how AP siblings would invite a friend to hang out with while their LP sibling is busy being social. But I would say that most AP siblings would not need to do that because they have a huge community of other AP siblings that they have probably known their whole life–thus there being plenty of people for them to hang out with.
But! There are a lot of reasons AP’s would go to LPA conferences and I’ve even wanted to invite some AP friends myself.
*Sometimes I just want my AP friends to go with me so they can understand more what it’s like to be me and understand the dynamics of an LPA convention. I sometimes feel like I have to try so hard to fit in and make people not think I’m different that I am less vulnerable about the struggle. So considering inviting them to a conference is one way I am letting them into my world. But then I think about my reasons not to invite them and I am often torn.
*I have an average sized brother who went with our family to the conventions growing up. There are a lot of average sized siblings that go and a lot of activities for them to do together. It is like a support group for them as well. My brother was the only AP person in our family and I imagine felt like an outsider sometimes. So when he was a kid he had a lot of other AP sibling friends and they would have mixers and all sorts of fun things. Now that he is almost 19, he doesn’t really go anymore. Most of it probably has to do with the cost–why would he use his limited money for that? I guess the need for support isn’t really predominant for him anymore–when we were kids my parents paid for him to go. I think he’s kind of outgrown that now. I do know he keeps in touch with other AP siblings.
*There are always tons of AP family members and doctors that go to the conventions–so if my friends ever did go they would not feel out of place probably.
Did you know that 90% of LP’s are born to average sized parents?
I guess this issue is kind of complex and really depends on the person and their own blend of LP/AP family members.
For the most part, I think if AP friends go the main thing is to be respectful of the fact that this is the one time a lot of people who are there feel “normal”. Realizing that is really important, in my opinion. In some ways, my AP friends that I see day in and day out get me in ways my LP friends do not, who mostly only see me once a year. But my LP friends and I share a bond of really understanding what the other person is going through that even my best AP friends have no idea about. I only have a couple of best LP friends that I really know well and talk to on an almost daily basis–Zach and on a monthly basis–Josh (and his AP boyfriend David) :). My other LP friend that I’ve gone shopping with a few times is Margaret who lives in my region so I get to see her 2-3 times a year. But I have a lot of friends that I hang out with at the conventions and we pick up right where we left off at the convention before. "
In case you didn't know, Jen is open to questions, if you've ever had a question, Jen would be a great person to ask. On various other sites, I've seen people ask the Roloffs questions that are more LP oriented than specifically for the Roloffs, most of those questions go unanswered by the Roloffs (like all questions to for the Roloffs :). If you've ever had a question such as that Jen would be an ideal person to ask, she's accessible, honest and insightful. You can either leave her a comment or question on her blog or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
So check out her blog and get to know Jen better (and also read to get the full answer about average sized people attending the LPA conferences).