A couple of Sundays ago, in the coffee hour at church, a very nice lady paid me a compliment by saying “You are such a renaissance dude.”
If she wasn’t such a sincere person, I would have queried, why she gave me such a cool title. Knowing that I am easily 10 years her senior, I could have thought she was just commenting on our difference in age, but we were not discussing chronological age at the time.
Now there are not a whole lot of ladies who pay enough attention to me, so thinking of me as a renaissance person rather than merely “yesterday” in terms of my thinking or the way I appeared in general was flattering.
Maybe she was judging me in light of the memoirs I have written, in which people or subjects I discussed were of interest 50 years ago when I was a professional educator in the McPherson schools.
In truth neither the people nor the subjects were about students who made a very special impression on me. They were not “special-needs students” who possessed particular abnormalities or physical disabilities.
They were the students each possessing individual differences that required special attention.
Oh yes! We had special students who displayed abilities and talents that caused us as teachers to initiate special academic programs, which would meet each student’s needs. Did that concern on my part require a person of renaissance approach to meet their individual needs?
Certainly my experience with special students required a wide range of methods to adequately challenge those individuals. If the definition of a “renaissance person” included that approach, then so be it. I encountered students of a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds, who were raised in many different backgrounds, coming from different ethnic groups to people whose parents were of highly educated preparation for their employment. If the lady who referred to me as a renaissance “Dude” was speaking of me in that parlance, then I was flattered by her assessment.
I chanced to visit briefly one evening, with a very much-loved local pastor. He was kind to say that he missed the absence of my memoir column in recent weeks. My response continued a memoir for October — “On Being A Renaissance Dude” — to his concern was that I don’t have any particular political ax do grind. My party involvement simply doesn’t fit in with the highly partisan expression of any party. When any of the well-known candidates must rely on political assassination to forcefully state the position of either party, I find such an approach counter-productive when dealing with the very big problems in government today. A wise political figure aptly described the current level of debate thusly “Never embark on a discussion of a candidate’s political aspirations or the discussion of his ‘drinking whiskey.’” If I can’t say anything positive about a person, it is better not to say anything at all.
Page 2 of 2 - Please understand that if I had $1 million to spend, it would not be spent on a slanderous assertion of an opposing political candidate. “So be it until Election Day!”
Les Groves is a resident of McPherson.