Memories of Awe Episode 7

As Liz was preparing for her next interview, she began to wonder how Professor McKown could remember all of the stories he was sharing with her. She decided to start today’s interview with that question.

LJ: I think you once told me that you have taught more students than any other professor. With the thousands of students you have taught, how do you remember so many stories you are sharing with me?

KMcK:  I’ve found that there are triggers that bring back memories.

LJ: Can you explain?

KMcK: That’s a good way to start today’s story. On my way to my office I passed by a set of storage rentals. That triggered a memory of Ernie.


KMcK:  Before I tell you about Ernie, let me share a bit of personal philosophy. I believe in second looks. I learned that from an art class I once took. Things are not always how we at first perceive them. When a student misses my class a lot, I don’t just assume that the student is goofing off or doesn’t care. Now let me tell you about Ernie.

He had been missing class and when he did show up one day I asked him to see me. Here’s what I found out. He was missing class to manage a family self-storage business. He had to be there for when people were renting a unit or discontinuing a rental. Unfortunately, most of those times coincided with my class.

LJCouldn’t other members of his family help?

KMcK:  That’s the real heart of the memory of awe for me. His grandmother owned the units. She was in her final days of life under hospice care. She was in terrible pain and her meds didn’t seem to help. Ernie’s dad was in jail for an armed robbery. He never knew his mother or is other grandparents. His mother left within days of his birth. He had a sister, but she was a lost cause.

LJWas he able to pass your class?

KMcK:  He did, but let me finish my memory of awe. Ernie found out that his sister was taking his grandmother’s pain pills and replacing them with aspirin.

LJ: Unbelievable. So how did he pass?

KMcK:  I told you before about moral beauty and how awe inspiring it is. I try to encourage our students to care for each other. One of my previous students in class agreed to tutor Ernie in my class and some others he was struggling with.

LJ: Amazing. Have you kept up with Ernie?

KMcK:  I have, and he has been incredibly successful. His life experience gave him great leadership skills. But even more importantly, he has adopted an immigrant family that an uncaring Governor dumped in the community where he is living.

LJ: You’ve done it again. What a collection of stories. And just think that your memory of Ernie was triggered by a storage building. You must experience awe every day.

KMcK: I do, and let’s talk about that in a future interview.

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“Your perception creates your reality. You can look at life and see scarcity or abundance. It depends on your mindset.” – Joe Vitale (singer, song writer)

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