Memories of Awe Episode 33

As Liz thought about her interviews, she began to realize that they were about single persons. She wondered if Professor McKown had other stories about groups. Is moral beauty a singular act or can it be one of people working together?

LJ: I’d like to explore with you any memories you have of groups who came together to produce acts of moral beauty.

KMcK:  I have many examples like that but what I’ve found is that there is often a triggering event that brings them together to produce that act of moral beauty.

LJ: Do you have an example?

KMcK:  I do. In my sophomore class I place students in groups for the entire semester. I tell those students that they will become lifetime friends. Typically each group has at least one female student, and she becomes the leader of that group. That wasn’t the case with Joyce. In fact, her teammates were upset that she wasn’t doing her work.

LJ: I understand that, and I have been in several groups where there was a freeloader. I’m curious to hear what you did.

KMcK:  I told them that they had the opportunity to shape a life in how they approached Joyce. I suggested they start by asking how they could help.

LJ: Did that work?

KMcK:  It did. They found out that Joyce had lost both parents over the summer. Her mother had committed suicide after her father had been sent to jail for manslaughter. She was all alone without siblings or responsible grandparents.

From that moment on, her teammates became her family. They supported her academically and emotionally. Over time, Joyce was able to put her personal past aside and focus on her future.

In our program, students take classes as a cohort. So when registration time came, they made sure that they had classes together.

I don’t recall a more poignant time in my career than when they came together for the last time at graduation to honor Joyce.

LJ: What a wonderful story. I wonder if they have stayed in touch.

KMcK:  (reaching into his desk) Here, look at this. It’s from Joyce’s wedding. She is being escorted down the aisle by her four teammates from class.

* * *

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” – John Holmes

How To Use

Useful guides for incorporating messages into discussion.