Charles Clanton Rogers

Reflections based on poetry, music, visual art, book reviews, history of science, first-person history, philosophical essays and International Blogging

If you are a good teacher/ mentor, you will live in your students.

Lessons for Writing and Life:  I write something every day. I make many decisions every day.

Every sentence that I write is influenced by my grandmother, my parents and a regiment of teachers/ mentors.  “We stand on the shoulders of giants.” (1)  Every word, sentence and paragraph that I write, is “in-my-ear-edited” by numerous teachers who still tell me to “pay meticulous attention to detail”.  ” Check for spelling errors and clarity of meaning.; does this sentence say what you mean?” “Check the accuracy of, and the certainty of, if checked, that the reference is where you have indicated.”

My mentors are far more than some vague accumulated habit-patterns. As I write, my mentors come to mind, and I see their face, and each face has a name; they advise me on content and mechanics, word by word, as I proceed.  I hope you don’t think of me as experiencing seances or as “hearing actual sounds from the grave”.  I don’t hear sounds; I just feel thoughts. I don’t go seeking them out, but when I am in need of thought or a rule, my mentors speak up, in a solo, or as a “Greek Chorus”.

Grandmother says: “Look, listen and learn.” “You can learn something from everyone you meet. or read.”

Mother says: “Always do your homework; always be on-time” and “Wear clean underwear.”

My Father says: “Give everyone eye-to-eye contact and a firm handshake.”  He also always said: “No man ever stands so tall as he who stoops to help a child.” and “Always be forgiving.”

My Uncle Bourley says: “Don’t take yourself too seriously; we are all in this together.”

“Skipper,” (School Principal, Scoutmaster, surrogate father) says: “Be a Renaissance Man; you only have to try to; you can do every kind of thing if you try.” Speak, sing, play an instrument; write, try out for the team;  don’t let a fear of failing stop you. Get back on your horse, again and again.” “Illetgimus noncarburundum!”

Miss Heron (English 101) still tells me to read and re-read my written work. Have an introduction, a discussion, and a conclusion.  She tells me this, this very morning, Essays need clear thoughts, one thought to a paragraph; paragraphs need sentences; complete sentences require, at least,  a subject, a verb, and punctuation.

Miss Jackson(English 103, 202-204)  required that I have The Collegiate Dictionary and  Thesaurus (2) with me for every written examination. Re-read one’s written work for logical content, and mechanics; each misspelled word is 0.5-grade point deduction. The Western Canon is a bottom-less well of material.  All great authors depend on those writers who came before. Did you think that Shakespeare had all those ideas on his own? Miss Jackson says: “You must read more than you write.”

Mrs. Brown (Biology) says:”Every living person, animal and plant is a manifestation of the miracles of life! Relish it and celebrate it every day.”

Dr. Adams (Radiation Physics)  says: Don’t turn in carelessly written papers. Use a spotless piece of paper; put your full name and the date on it, Re-read it carefully for errors. What you turn in, is your face to the world and tells your reader what you have learned and what you are capable of producing.

Dr, Banks (Anatomy) says: “You must be a complete master if your material. Generations of surgeons were taught by Dr. Banks, that the smallest details of normal anatomy had to be memorized and understood. “You can’t look it up during the operation.”

Dr. Ebert (Internal Medicine) says:”Never be without a stethoscope” and  “Read and cite the refereed literature. No “Cliff’s Notes” of medicine allowed.

Dr. Merrill: Gynecology-Obstetric) says: One must be on time! If the operation is scheduled for 08:00, that means when the hands on the clock clicks on to 8 O’clock,  that you are fully awake, fed, had your coffee, completed ward rounds, in a scrub suit, post-ten-minute-hand-scrub, gowned, gloved and with a  scalpel or a Kelly-clamp  in your hand and the patient is anesthetized, before 08:00!  And know for certain who your patient is! A 08:00 operation means that the knife blade goes through the skin at 8 O’clock. That is what prompt says: prompt means be completely ready and early!”

Dr. Crosby (Gynecology-Obstetrics)  says: “The purpose of your training is to teach you to pay meticulous attention to detail”

Dr. O’Fogludha:(Radiation Physics in Medicine) Says: Having worked a problem and getting an answer, study the response to make sure that your answer makes sense. Your answer could have the correct units but could be off by an order of magnitude if you misplaced a decimal point… Small percentage errors may work; orders-of-magnitude are disastrous. Where the decimal point is, is more important than the numbers.  “You cannot see or feel ionizing radiation”.

Dr. Alper (Radiation Biology) says “Write your material weeks in advance of its need and have everyone in the department critic your work.  Their review is a gift.”

Dr. Newman (Surgical Pathology) says: (A total information man) “You must know the patient’s complete medical narrative and gross observations in order to  interpret  microscopic findings.” and “you must know the diagnosis before you treat.”,

Dr. Yates  (Pediatrics) says: Whatever you want someone to remember, you must write it down and clearly; and put it in their hands.”.

My Son, Steven: Echos Winston Churchill:”Never, ever, never, give up!”

My Son Evan says: “Everything is built on basics. Every day, practices all of the major and minor scales, every day; master your instrument.”

These are some members of my Mentors and Greek Chorus, who talk to me as I go through my day.

“After we are gone, [we] survive only in the memories of others, and those memories butt up against the walls we erect and the roles we play.”  (3)

Every day, I read about people critical of “university educations” as indoctrination of dogma. If these critics had known my mentors, they would see that their lessons as gifts from the well of life’s experience and wisdom.

Charles Clanton Rogers, AB, MD, FACR   Emeritus Professor      GWU

Revised September 13, 2015 Thank you for “Flying Zebra” If you “Like” this, consider hitting my reblog  button.

(1) The best-known use of this phrase was by Isaac Newton in a letter to his rival Robert Hooke, in 1676: “What Descartes did was a good step. You have added many several ways, and especially in taking the colors of thin plates into philosophical consideration. If I have seen a little further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”

(2) Merriam-Webster: Dictionary and Thesaurus, An Encyclopedia Company.

(3) Roger Ebert, Movie Critic: summarizing the message of Citizen Kane, the movie, Directed by Orson Welles, 1941.

5 thoughts on “You Could Be Immortal!

  1. Candy says:

    I loved this. I am going to try and copy it for my classroom!! I’m so proud you are my cousin!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. clanton1934 says:

      Our grandmother lives in both of us! I am proud we are both teachers. The fruit of carpentry, etc. one can see today. The fruits and seeds from The Teacher, exist indefinitely. You have been trusted with an invaluable torch to pass to the next generation. Your students must be prepared to pass this baton to the future when you and I are no longer able to do it. Carpe Diem! Your cousin, Charles

      Liked by 1 person

  2. bbnewsab says:

    Reblogged this on Mass Delusions a.k.a. Magical & Religious Woo-Bullshit Thinking and commented:
    My cyber friend clanton1934 is a man full of both knowledge and wisdom.

    If you don’t believe me, then have a(nother) look at this post (the one I’m now going to reblog), published yesterday on clanton1934’s blog.

    His text generates lots of “feeling good” emotions. It’s full of positive, hopeful and inspiring “vibrations”, and maybe best of all, clanton1934 doesn’t fall victim to the urge so many bloggers have for dressing the message in religious clothing, i.e. using words full of religious connotations.

    That’s why I consider clanton1934 to be a bpth honorable and honest man. His message to thw world can be summarized as “You yourself, not God, are the architect of your fortunes”.

    That’s why I now want to spread his words to my own readers.


  3. clanton1934 says:

    Dear PV,
    Thank you very much for your kind words and your continued encouragement. It is an honor to be rebloged on your prestigious blog. I feel like I have a substantial basecamp in Sweden which is known for a highly enlightened persons. On a personal note, I am proud, by this publication, to immortalize my family/ mentors and each of my teachers identified individually. I am their product. My grandmother provided the operating system for my first six years. All of the rest provided additional instruction and boosted the “inexplicable” force I have described in “Life is a Journey”. I will put some relevant links in a subsequent reply. Thank you for giving me a nom de plume in Sweden. K

    Liked by 1 person

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