I am about finished with a very good book by the new author, Thomas Chatterton Williams, entitled, “Losing My Cool: How a Father’s Love and 15,000 Books Beat Hip-Hop Culture.” For the past several years, I have bought an autobiography as one of my summer books. This is that kind of book for this summer… Williams writing about his life, and I’m finishing it too quickly.
In his acknowledgments, Williams quotes Truman Capote, “Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.” A good statement, a good sentiment, a good thing to remember.
I hated when in school we were told to write about a favorite hero, and everyone seemed to jump right to it. I couldn’t. I never really had any heroes, and wondered whether something was wrong with me.
But what about those who gave me confidence? If I am honest, and I have to ask myself if I am truly remembering correctly, I have encountered more that broke down my confidence than raised it up. I really have had to be my own motivator for much of my life.
The person that came to mind most quickly is Dr. Terry Kuhn. He is retired now, but while at Kent State he was the Vice-Provost and Dean of the new academic unit in which I worked. He was my boss. There is much to admire in Dr. Kuhn. He had enough confidence in me to allow me to branch into areas of interest and person development that never would have been possible, otherwise. He allowed me to develop the whole technology department for our unit, when I was a student development specialist and hardly a technology guy.
This may be strange way of conveying such a thing, but one of the greatest compliments I remember receiving came from Dr. Kuhn. I asked him to write a letter of recommendation for me as a perspective student to The General Theological Seminary. He wrote in the letter that he thought this turn in my life would result in a tremendous waste of talent, but he highly recommended me nevertheless. There you go.
Then, of course, there is my mother!