Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Some of My Motivation

Do you ever find yourself in need of a booster for your self-esteem or maybe just needing a little motivation? I think we all have these times, even those of us who have high, healthy levels of self-esteem and confidence in ourselves.

One of the most universal forms of encouragement comes from compliments or simple words of encouragement from loved ones. Family and friends can boost a person up more than just about anything. Unfortunately, they can tear a person down as quickly too of course, but let’s focus on the positive here folks…HA!

For me, I treasure the words from my friends so highly! This past summer I put together a book I call “What Did You Say About Me?! …the #1 Motivational Book” which includes over 130 pages of quotes I have from friends during my four years of undergraduate work at ACU. This includes quotes I got from notes, cards, emails, or AIM conversations I have saved from folks. I treasure this book and look to it whenever I need a boost or a reminder of who I am. The “Encouraging the Growth of my Head” section on my AIM profile is actually quotes I take from the book!

I challenge anyone out there to do the same thing. You won’t believe how cool and helpful it can be to have a book of words about yourself that people who you love so dearly have said about you that you can look at when you need a boost. After I told Hollie Inwood about it she said she wanted to do the same thing (now whether she ever did it or not I’m not sure…HA!) For recent ACU graduates like myself, if you find yourself cleaning out old emails out of your ACU email account in order to save them before the account gets shut-off, that’s a perfect time to gather up quotes.

So some people like to scrapbook, I write books about myself by collaborating quotes! ;)

I can’t even begin to tell you how many different people have told me things that have honestly encouraged me for weeks at a time! The power of a few words is UNBELIEVABLE! An idea of just one source of encouragement I have which has sections quoted in my book is two of my letters of recommendation a professor and friend of mine wrote for me for acceptance into graduate schools. I have these letters framed now and I look to them when I need to smile or to remember who I am perceived to be from the outside looking in.

Here is one of the letters that was written for me. As I thanked my professor for the generous words he told me, “The letter of recommendation can’t get you into a school; it can only keep you out.” I totally agree with that, but I’ll argue that a letter can also keep an individual IN school because of the confidence and motivation it can give a person.

Here is one of the letters I treasure so deeply…

Re: Recommendation of Kimberly Rae Smith

This is a fine young woman who is a breath of fresh air in a university setting. She is a free spirit under control. In my opinion Kim is thoroughly capable of doing exemplary graduate work. It is also my opinion that she has singular gifts for your academic discipline and profession.

Kim has done fine work in my classes, at times excellent, but I do not believe that her GPA, whatever it is, likely reflects her academic potential. She’s had too much else going on as an undergraduate. She likes people and they’re comfortable with her. She is not at all enamored with herself but she is decidedly enamored with a fascinating world which she sees around her and it’s apparent that she likes to figure out what makes things, people and herself tick…often with an appropriate air of bemusement. Kim has a wonderful sense of wry and ironic humor. I also believe that she is what she probably does not yet perceive herself to be – an intellectual.

Recently several of our campus leaders, including the current student body president, without any prodding from me, discussed with me some pockets of apathy in the Student Association’s work, and they congratulated themselves on how much things had changed for the better since they talked Kim Smith into accepting an appointed position with the Student Senate. I just didn’t see her in that light. She’s reserved, quiet really, and I was at first a little surprised at the great popularity she enjoys among students both men and women. And respect! Very impressive!

By my opening comment I do not intend to disparage our great university. Maybe it’s just a generational, cultural thing…but a very humble-down-home-look-you-in-the-eye-straight-talking-keenly listening-non-materialistic-studious-compassionate student with an intense interest in what’s going on of real importance in the world stands out – at least in my environs. I’m a retired private practicing lawyer (after 25 years) from Louisville, Kentucky, coming hoping to teach where I did not attend and after many administrative assignments and some graduate work I finally made it to the faculty as a lowly instructor in sociology/social work (400+ students a year) and I am also associate general counsel. Kim is the kind of student I most like to teach. Of course, I happily affirm Kim’s integrity…and I give her my highest recommendation…


Charles L. Trevathan

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