On one of our recent trips to see our grandson in Indianapolis, I was ruminating about teaching to my wife, Ann. Over the past two decades, I have taught at four different colleges or universities. I love teaching; it is something, which I will continue to do as long as long as I live. In that two-hour plus drive, I went on about teaching and what I would like to do in the future...dreams that have not yet been reached.

My wife patiently listened to my dreaming. I love many things about Ann. However, she has a way of responding to my dreams with a pointed question. Over a decade ago, she listened to me talk about going to Tibet. Overseas travel has been in my blood since I was in my teens. I did post-graduate work at the University of Edinburgh, traveled all over Europe, parts Central Europe, and even got to Tangiers, Morocco during the summers before and after Edinburgh. I have led a tour group to the Israel, Jordan, and Egypt and another one to Greece and Turkey. Nevertheless, I have wanted to go to Tibet and was ruminating about that several times a week to Ann. After months about my dream of going to Tibet, Ann merely retorted, "So what are you going to do about it?"

It was her pleasant but firm means of conveying to me...put up or shut up. Either work on your dream and make it come true or stop talking about the dream. It wasn’t a year after that pointed question that we were on a trip to Tibet. Several years after that trip, I was teaching a class of American students in Tibet and China. In the past decade, we have gone to additional locations throughout the world: Chile, Easter Island, French Polynesia, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, India, Nepal, Mali, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. In a couple of months, we will be in Greece and Turkey. In the following year, we are planning a trip to Russia. I have promised Ann also a trip to Scotland. All this was because of her challenging question, "So what are you going to do about it?"

On our trip to see our grandchild, I was dreaming again—this time about teaching. I was telling Ann that if I teach for another decade at DeVry, I will still be delighted. If nothing changes, I will go to my grave absolutely happy with my tenure at DeVry, which by then will have been twenty years.

However, I have some longings for which I haven’t achieved satisfaction. There are at least five major issues confronting me.

  1. I am sure that I have ADD. While my body can sit still, my mind can’t. I am always thinking, "Yes, but..." While I am thoroughly happy doing what I am doing, I always thinking, yes but... How can I guild the lily?
  2. I am also right-brain bilateral. I am not a detail person; I am a dreamer. I think from a global perspective, and I am not driven by filling in small details.
  3. I am a first born, which makes me an overachiever. However, I am never satisfied with my accomplishments as an overachiever. If you morph being first born with ADD and right-brain bilateral, that explains much of my forever dreaming.
  4. I am 67-years old and nearly died three years ago from a fall. I possess now a very real knowledge that I am not immortal. Therefore, there is the inner drive to fill my life with new things knowing with absolute certainty that I won’t live forever.
  5. I am forever indebted to my college art history teacher, Louie Palmer, who taught a required 10-hour class called The Arts in my junior year at Muskingum University. All students had to take 5-hours both semesters in either their junior or senior year. Each week had three large lectures and two small sub-sections. I did well enough in The Arts to be hired by Louie to teach some of the sub-sections of that class during my senior year. I taught many of my classmates as an undergraduate. In addition to teaching, I wrote all the tests and graded them during that year. I loved that experience, and it made me into the teacher I am today.

In addition, I also babysat for Bimbo, his standard-sized poodle, while he was in Italy for a month with another art class. I took care of his house and drove his car around campus. It was a hoot. I also loved the way he would have a dozen students over to his house couple of times each week during the entire year for coffee and an informal chat. I miss that exposure to my students. Louie made me much of whom I am today. I would love to be at a little college and become another Louie Palmer to my students.

Can you tell that I am a dreamer? I dream about a college like Maryville, which is in Tennessee. It is a small Presbyterian college of about 1,100 students like the one from which I graduated. While I didn’t go to Maryville, I have been there a couple of times to visit and have known several graduates. I’d love to teach there. I’m sure that a private, small liberal arts college has many needs like finances, a driven staff, and commitment to the educational betterment of the student body. I want to help a college like that. That is my first dream.

My second dream is not only to get a job there, but to find a restaurant for my son-in-law to manage and run. He loves cooking like I love teaching. He has a bachelor’s degree and works in IT as the operations manager for his company. If I could get him a job in the town of Maryville, he could cook there, and Ann could watch our grandson whenever necessary—say five or six times a week would do. Our daughter could also find a counseling position at the college, and she will also be happy with my second dream. In addition, Ann and I get to see our grandson more often.

My third and final dream is to get my dean at DeVry, Anne Perry, a job at Maryville...preferably as my dean. She loves DeVry as much as I do. Dean Perry is doing an excellent job resolving problems and making the school the best around. She is left-brain and uses it as sonar to problem-solve. She loves the challenge of being a dean dealing with the university and the students. When we are talking about classes, curriculum, and students, she views her job the same way I view teaching. Dean Perry’s tenacity drives her to address and resolve all the various problems or issues that present themselves on her desk. I’m sure that she will want to remain at DeVry. Nevertheless, I will make a Herculean effort to get her to come to Maryville or wherever and assist them as she has assisted DeVry.

I’m driven to work upon my three dreams...teaching, getting my son-in-law a restaurant, and a getting a new challenge for my dean. As my reader, do you truly understand what drives my dreaming? I owe much to my wife’s simple sentence, "So what are you going to do about it?" My only question is how long it will take me to accomplish that dream. It took less than a year to accomplish my dream of a trip to Tibet.

Forrest Gump Film Poster

Forrest Gump, "Stupid is as stupid does."

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