Professor of Education Roger Boop ’62 offered three “lessons” for new Butler graduates, when he presented the keynote speech at Winter 2011 Commencement ceremonies on Dec. 18.
Boop, who has served on the College of Education faculty since 1968, said the following lessons are ones “that life has taught and continues to teach me.”
Lesson #1: I have been blessed many times throughout my life without realizing it. One often needs considerable time to reflect on the events of life. In a sermon that one of the ministers of my church delivered a week ago, the focus was on the abundance of gifts that the good Lord provides to each of us.
In teacher education we might immediately think about the multiple intelligences each child possesses, as defined by Howard Gardner of Harvard. Regardless, the issue here is the utilization of such talents to make the world a better place regardless of one’s theological or pedagogical leanings.
Consider the many talents each of you has been given and then honed over the past several years of your schooling. (Remember even the sharpest edge can grow dull with use and needs to be renewed periodically.)
On a personal note, one of my major blessings included a decision to transfer to Butler from Ball State due to the ravages of Asian flu in the late 1950’s that created weeks of absences during my first two winters of college. And that move changed everything for me from then until now!
Other blessings involved escape from situations that could have resulted in my physical demise. Farming 50+ years ago offered a lot of pits and snares. But I came through safely each time and later wondered “Why?”
Looking back, the satisfactions and rewards of teaching and mentoring young people over the past five decades seems to offer a rationale that makes sense; I truly wish each of you such good fortune in the years to come.
Lesson #2: Associate with good and caring people, and life will be much richer and fulfilling. Being raised on a small farm tended to make me more of an existentialist, i.e., I was taught to count only on myself. If things went well, there was no question where the credit went, and, if things went badly, the same went with blame.
If you do not already, learn to embrace collaboration; experience has taught me that two heads are really better than one. Trust me, cynical folks can be corrosive. Be energized by positive people like I am blessed to associate with at Butler every day, as part of “the Butler Way.”
Additionally, take your time and be blessed by selecting or being selected by a mentor, if you don’t already have one. (You will have several in a lifetime, by the way.)
These mentors can be either older or younger and in my case, of course, they are all younger! I’ve had several folks in my life who have truly made a professional and personal difference down through the years, including my mother, a high school English teacher, along with very special friends and a number of faculty, staff and administrators here at Butler.
Reflect on those who to this point helped you in the process of becoming and being where you are today, and will continue to be supportive as the years pass.
Lesson #3: Cherish the time that you have to make a difference in our world. Since I am an Indiana Registered clockmaker, who will be 72 in February, it finally occurred to me that the prudent use of time always should be of importance to us.
Just think of how many ways we express the term time and all that is related to it. As examples: time to get ready, time for class and time waits for no one. (And yes, I will get the Theta House’s tall clock restoration finished by the time the spring semester begins.)
And, time is of the essence as you plan the next few years toward your continued personal and professional growth. You will wear many hats. Some may seem more comfortable than others, and some, more appropriate.
Some of you will continue professional studies or obtain employment in America while others work or study abroad; you will need ongoing focus given to the area we currently call “cultural literacy,” both here and overseas. So don’t overlook this vital area of human understanding.
As you move toward your next goals, always work toward becoming a dedicated professional and not just doing “a job.” A retired colleague of mine was fond of saying, “Strive to do the right thing rather than things right.” True professionals labor to keep current and embrace change. And, oh, the changes you’ll see in the coming decades! Take my word for this one; it is the gospel truth.
Best wishes to you in your new quests; you’ll be fine. And please never forget that good, old Butler will always be here for you as it has for me during the past 50 years. As we say, don’t become strangers and do keep in touch. By the way, I’ll be looking for you at Homecoming in 2061! And, GO, DAWGS!!