This quote brought comfort and encouragement…about today…but also about centuries ago:
“…I desire to impress upon the minds of each one of these students, both male and female…that you will resolve to go forth from these classrooms determined to the future to be leaders with high aims and pure standards.” In these endeavors she called on students to be “true to the best you know.” Which she defined as being earnest, conscientious, helpful, cheerful and uplifting, rather than “going forth to acquire great wealth and great names.” Her words to students provide a valuable definition of purposeful leadership, involving a focus on improving the human condition, which guides our leadership and all that we do as a university.
Those were words written by Jane Stanford in 1891 and shared by Mark Tessier-Lavigne, Stanford University President in the July/August 2017 Stanford Magazine.
The magazine has many better than good—make them brilliant—articles. Including why upward mobility for the poor cannot happen. It also includes class notes, then the obituaries of classmates, each of whom didn’t die before they were dead.
With that, in these days as my recent blogs include, I’ve been working on recovered memory. Found hundreds of pictures I didn’t realize were on my computer.
Not everything was cherished. But, it’s part of my life so cannot be deleted. The key, though, is for what has happened to be teacher and not controller. That’s hard, pushingly hard.
I can see where my mistakes were based upon what I thought was good judgment. Making decisions on relationships, sometimes waiting too long, others not long enough. I was wrong. Or knowing when ethical conduct was missing and never speaking of it to those who had shredded their innocence. I was wrong.
Well, the “wrong-upon” list is not small. I’d wager no different for you.
And yet, yesterday and this morning and I will read it each new day, I value—actually embrace with heart, mind and soul, Jane Stanford’s words.
And with that I think of someone whom I treasure. Because it’s a living example of how the devastating can turn into something glorious. THAT’S the best. For no matter the worst, the best doesn’t have to be stranger.
I heard yesterday from Margaret Trost, Fred’s daughter. More than a handful of years ago, she and her husband Rich, at the time the parents of their infant son, Luke, were at dinner. They returned home, but didn’t make it. Rich suffered an asthma reaction and died in Margaret’s arms.
Devastating. But not forever. In her grief recovery Margaret went to Port-au-Prince, Haiti and saw the poverty and the hunger. She linked with a Catholic priest and founded the What If? Foundation…more than a decade ago. Today the What If? Foundation feeds hundreds of children and their parents daily and provides education. All because of dream of a priest and Margaret.
Then. Yesterday I learned that Luke, no longer an infant held fervently and lovingly in Margaret’s arms, but still loved totally, has graduated from Elmhurst College and is now the new Director of Athletic Communications at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois. As I call him, The Lukester, now helps 16 teams at the University of St.Francis get on the map of awareness. How great is that?!
So, all on a hot and humid Tuesday morning…yet, thanks Jane Stanford, thanks Margaret and thanks Luke…my day is getting better already.
The truth is this: I will not discard my memory, if I can have anything to say about it…but I will have it be teacher and not jailer.