Memories of Awe Episode 2

Liz was looking forward to her first interview with Professor Keith McKown. She hoped that she could engage him enough in order for him to continue these interviews.

LJYou indicated that you wanted these interviews to focus on students. I’ll let you start.

KMcK:  I’ve actually given some thought to the student I wanted to start with. His name was Mike.

LJSo tell me about him.

KMcK:  He was a good student, like many I have taught. He was also the son of the coach of my high school’s main rival basketball team. His father was a fierce competitor.

LJDid that influence what you thought of Mike?

KMcK:  Not at all.

LJSo why is Mike’s story so memorable to you?

KMcK:  I found out that Mike’s father had cancer and didn’t have long to live. I would never have known that from Mike. He never made excuses. He didn’t ask for special favors. He just did what was expected of him.

I decided to write Mike’s father a letter telling him what a great son he had. I know that he must have been proud of        Mike.

He died a few days after receiving my letter. Several weeks later I received a letter from Mike’s mom telling me about the letter. She said that her husband never let go of that letter and was still clinging to it when he died.

LJI’ve got goosebumps just thinking about it. Pardon me a minute while I find a tissue.

LJWow!! That’s quite a memory. I see why you decided to start with it.

KMcK:  That was the first time I realized that I had a role that extended beyond being the person in front of the class. It was also the first time that I began to be in awe of my students.

LJWhat do you mean by awe of your students? It seems as if they should be in awe of you.

KMcK:  Put yourself in Mike’s position. Would you have had the courage to continue on as he did? He wanted to make his father proud. I really admire people who live for others, but still remain focused on achieving their best. That’s so much more important than a GPA.

LJYou mentioned a role beyond just being in front of the class. What do you see that role being?

KMcK:  College is a time when young people transition into adulthood. I view my role as being a facilitator of that transition.

LJThank you so much. You have certainly given me a lot to think about. I can’t wait for our next interview.

KMcK:  I was reluctant to do this, but I’m beginning to see how this can be valuable to me as well. Everyone needs to capture their memories of awe. And that’s what you’re helping me to do.

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“To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.” – Phyllis Theroux (author)

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