Saturday, July 18, 2009

Walter Cronkite Was The Best Teacher I Ever Had!

Walter Cronkite was the best teacher I ever had. As a young journalist and broadcaster, I was truly lucky to secure an interview with Walter Cronkite. Just a few hours before our meeting, I glanced at his picture and thought he looked old. That momentary glance found its way into every question I asked him. " In your day," I referenced more than a few times and he picked up on my limitation.

Clearly, I had pegged him as a man whose day had passed and he felt it would be wise to teach me a lesson or two. "Liz," he said, "If I were to imagine the causes you are actively involved with, I would venture to say you care about the environment and maybe the PTA and the rights of animals and the ..." and each time he pigeonholed me, I started to resent being projected upon... and then, I got it. That's what I had done to him.

Through example, he illustrated what it feels like to be stereotyped and Walter Cronkite, the consummate gentleman, was able to convey this to me right in the heart of our interview.

Once I surrendered my projection of him as an "old man" I was truly able to see him in his brilliance and to recognize that he had a heart of gold. He cared deeply about our changing world and was concerned about how the media has morphed. He advised the following:

1. Educate Yourself - Don't buy into soundbites
2. Speak Up and Speak Out - it's our right to be heard in America
3. Don't Stereotype - Learn to listen and perceive from your heart
4. Be Proactive - Know you can make a difference

May Walter Cronkite Rest in Peace. I know his memory will live on... in me... forever.
He was the best teacher I ever had.!

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