The Courage Of Your Convictions

Adults used to speak of many esoteric ideas when I was a lad in Eldorado, Illinois.  Manners were drilled into my head.  My mom told me that if I was at a friends house and they invited me to lunch or supper…I was supposed to decline at least once and perhaps twice before I accepted on the third invitation.  On more than one occasion I was so hungry that I could visualize partaking in the  delicious and fragrant food that was displayed on the kitchen or dining room table!  Mom and I did not have many worldly possessions…but we had our pride!  We did not want to appear needy or be called a leech…  There was a code of conduct that was not always written but yet was to be observed and obeyed!  You never referred to your elders by their first name unless they had invited you to do so.  As a mature man of 40 years…I could not imagine that the SIU Chancellor candidate, Dr. Jo Ann Argersinger, had insisted on me calling her Jo Ann…  I had been raised to always refer to people by their title as a sign of respect for what they had accomplished in life.  I was guilty of swearing or cussing…since my youth…from time to time…but you never cursed in front of women and you were constantly mindful of the audience that your salty discussions were transpiring in front of.  I was taught to stand up for what I though was right…irregardless of anyone standing with me…  I understood that the courage of my convictions were more important than my job or committee or social standing!  Indeed I have publicly stood upon my convictions at SIUC when it was the most politically unpopular thing to do!

person rock climbing
Photo by Анна Рыжкова on

I ruminate and cogitate and mull over my opinions and words and thoughts…for a long time.  I have never spoken quickly…and I would rather listen to another orate.  I thoroughly enjoy the warm comfort of going along with the group that I am a member of…as long as I agree with their creed and the bullet points of their standard!  To disagree is as uncomfortable as a burr underneath the saddle of a compliant horse.  But when I am compelled to go against the accepted thought and to rock the boat of shared assumptions…I do so without regret!  

grayscale picture of two people go on fishing
Photo by Jayant Kulkarni on

I abhor being manipulated!  This procedure has happened to me on several occasions during my 62 years and 8 months.  I know it when it is happening and I have rejected it for at least 30 years.  When you ask me my opinion…I will provide you with my unadulterated and well thought out view on the subject at hand.  I almost never answer quickly…because I want to be true to what I feel in my heart as well as what I understand with my head!  

I have never felt the need to affirm my considered opinion.  I offer my opinions in humility and the permanent understanding that I could be wrong…but that I have thought about what I offered publicly…for some time…

I stood against the mis-firing of former chancellor Jo Ann Argersinger, over 20 years ago, and an administrator informed me that I was in danger of loosing my job as well the 150 people that I was the manager of…and I did not back down…

I have said for many years…do not ask for an opinion unless you are prepared for one that disagrees with your own…  Do not ask for an opinion that may disagree with your own unless you are willing to live by the results of the survey…

black and white people bar men
Photo by Gratisography on



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