I often describe my work with Carroll Magazine as my hobby because I enjoy all the dynamics involved and they unfold before I leave for work or after I get home.
Whether it’s parenting, gardening, working out at the gym, traveling – you find the time to do what you love.
My full-time work as an academic dean includes teaching, a privilege that I have savored for the same amount of time I have been a journalist – 28 years.
I love to teach because of what I learn.
The more I facilitate rather than profess, the more students think. The more they think, and have the courage to share and debate their diverse views, the more we all learn.
My most recent lesson came from Rebecca Olsen. Becky is a Psychology major and a member of McDaniel College’s Class of 2018. She is also a cadet with the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).
She started our class on September 11 by sharing a video tribute to the people who lost their lives in DC, Pennsylvania and New York at a time when most of her classmates were 4 and 6 years old.
Dressed in her ROTC uniform, Becky also shared the news that she had signed her commitment papers.
“While most graduates will be worried about graduate school or first days at a new job, I will be in charge of a platoon,” she said.
She probably has no idea just how many lessons reached her peers and me, among them:
Have a goal that you are passionate about, make a plan for reaching it and follow that plan even if it includes some detours;
The freedoms and opportunities of our country come with a price. She and many others are people willing to pay one price – military service;
For every millennial who brings the generation a bad rap, there are others like Rebecca Olsen who have remarkable, focused drive fueled by intellect, compassion and values she proudly articulates;
And, equally important, horrific days like September 11 cannot be forgotten. In fact, they should be collectively and actively remembered.
This issue of Carroll Magazine includes a column by Kym Byrnes about the beautiful memorials in the county that honor those who died in war.
An inscription on the large granite monument in Westminster dedicated to 18 Carroll County residents who were killed or went missing during the Vietnam War captures sentiments that Becky Olsen’s classmates and I experienced on September 11 when she spoke:
“This memorial is dedicated to mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, wives, husbands, sons, daughters, lovers, friends and most of all dreams of the men and women from Carroll County who risked it all in Vietnam.”
Substitute any other war – WWI, WWII, Korea, Desert Storm – and there are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, wives, husbands, sons, daughters, lovers, friends and dreams lost by men and women who risked it all.
Whether we pay tribute to those who served, or commend those who currently serve, it is important to take time to honor them.
November 11, Veterans Day, is just one opportunity.
I teach because of the lessons I learn.