In My Own Words
Thoughts on Education, Artistry, and Leadership

My (occasional) blog includes articles I've been invited to contribute and remarks from events at which I have been asked to speak, in addition to comments written specifically for my web audience.

Please send your comments and critiques; they are always appreciated.

Commentary in The Mu of Monmouth College
January 2009 Issue - Volume 1, Issue 2

1893, 1870, 1867, 1898, 1865, 1901, 1848.  Our fraternities are old.  Founded long ago by women and men dedicated to some simple ideas such as honesty, hard work, curiosity, and loyalty.  They were interested in achieving greatness and  building a better world.  Recently, I was touched by some words on this subject:

“We understand that greatness is never a given.  It must be earned.  Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less.  It has not been the path for the faint-hearted, for those that prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.  Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things—some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor—who have carried us up the long rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

Commentary in The Mu of Monmouth College
December 2008 Issue - Volume 1, Issue 1

Students who know me will recognize the heading of this article.  It is a phrase I often invoke when discussing the conduct of students involved in fraternities and sororities, and it happens to be a quote from my own fraternal oath which I have sworn to live by.

Greek students occasionally complain that they are held to a different standard.  I have always found this interesting, since they have asked to be held to that higher standard by taking the oaths of membership in their respective organizations.  Indeed, this higher standard is precisely what the founders of every national sorority and fraternity sought for all of their brothers and sisters, for now and forever.

Remarks at the Court of Honor of Boy Scouts of America Troop 8
May 5, 2008 at 7:15 PM
Evangelical Covenant Church of Hinsdale, Illinois

Some of you may know my grandfather, Dick Reck. He was a Troop 8 Committee Member for several years, and served on many, many Boards of Review helping Scouts like you on the Trail to Eagle. Until last week, he was living happily at home with his wife of 67 years until he was taken by ambulance to Hinsdale Hospital, where he is now being treated for pneumonia and a blood clot in his leg, in addition to his ongoing memory problems. Last week, some of you may have seen me arrive to the meeting tardy and out of uniform, because I had been visiting him in the intensive care unit and giving my grandmother a much-needed break.

As I sat with him, he was fidgety. He began reaching up, grabbing for something. He found it, turned it over in his hands, took something out. Then when he tried to bring this something to his mouth, I asked, “Grandpa, what are you doing?”

Remarks at the Court of Honor of Boy Scouts of America Troop 8
February 4, 2008 at 7:15 PM
Evangelical Covenant Church of Hinsdale, Illinois

This past summer, forty thousand Boy and Girl Scouts and Scouters gathered together in England, the birthplace of Scouting, to celebrate its one-hundredth anniversary. They arrived by plane, ship, train, and—in the case of Girl Scout Arianna Corradi from Torino, Italy—on horseback. One of Troop 8’s very own, Life Scout Eric Andrews, was there, too, as part of the contingent from the Boy Scouts of America. These boys and girls, women and men, were all part of something special, the twenty-first World Scout Jamboree.

The Jamboree, hosted by a different country every fourth year, is “an educational event to promote peace and understanding among young people all over the world” (WOSM). It’s like the Olympics, except that at its opening ceremony, rather than a parade of the world’s greatest athletes, it is an assembly of the world’s greatest youth. 

The World Scouting Movement includes Scouts from 216 nations, from Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, New Zealand, Pakistan, Iceland, Honduras, Korea, Lithuania, and Kazakhstan, among many others. And these Scouts are united in the same spirit, voiced in the Scout Promise: “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country; to help other people at all times; and to obey the Scout Law.” (That’s the original… a bit different, isn’t it?)