MICHAEL JOHNSON gives us wisdom to bring us into the weekend. Read and feel better!

Michael sent this article and after reading it, I thought about how I think internally (to myself).  How do I see things?  How could I see things?…  Food for thought this weekend!


Michael Johnson


     Why do we turn out like we do?

     Dr. Hans Selye, Canadian pioneer of research on stress, wrote 39 books and 1700 scholarly papers. Selye was interviewing a set of male twins once who had an alcoholic father. The first twin was interviewed at 9:00 a. m. He was a school superintendent, highly educated, had many friends, and had always lived an exemplary life. Selye asked him several questions and concluded with this one…“Why do you think you turned out like you did?”

     The second twin was interviewed at 9:30 a. m. This twin had experienced a very difficult life. He lacked formal education, had no friends, never held a job for long, and suffered from chronic depression and severe alcoholism like his father before him. After asking several questions, Selye again ended the interview with that same last question…

“Why do you think you turned out like you did?”

     Both twins in different rooms, at different times, answered with precisely the same words. Can you guess what they said? Both men said…

“What would you expect with a father like mine?”

     I know a man who has everything. From outward appearances, he has lived a truly charmed life. Surely he picked his parents in heaven. He has always had a strong marriage. His children were born healthy and normal, and all have done well in life.

All his grandchildren were born healthy. He is highly educated, has always had secure employment, and enjoyed good health. He has never been hungry. He also stands to inherit a fortune. (Told you his parents were great.) Yet with all that – a life without any real heartbreak aside from the death of his father – he has told me on many occasions

how unhappy he is in his work as a university professor.

     The cause of his unhappiness? “It’s because of the students,” he says. “They can’t write, they can’t spell, and they can’t think. All they care about is what’s on the test, getting a degree, and getting a job. They shouldn’t be allowed in college.”

I mentioned his description of students sounded remarkably similar to our college days.

“But that’s the way we were,” I said.

     “Oh no,” he said. “We were good students – scholarly and serious minded. Not like these people today at all.” Each time I talk with him, I come away so very sad.

There is no joy in his heart.

     I know another man. His name is Aaron Alejandro. After completing 100 + hours of college credit at Texas Tech, he finished at Midwestern State University with a degree in Public Administration. Today, he is the first Latino Director of the Texas FFA Foundation. I don’t need to paint a maudlin picture of his early life, but let’s just say

he didn’t have quite the head start our professor did. In addition to all Aaron’s other accomplishments, there is one that stands above. Aaron Alejandro is also a graduate of Cal

Farley’s Boys Ranch. Trust me when I tell you that sentence has high interest to me.

     Most of us would predict that our professor would do well in life and know happiness.

Far too many would predict that Aaron would have little chance of any success.

Yet that is not what happened. The one who had everything becomes cynical and snide because he thinks that makes him look clever and above it all. The one who began with almost nothing becomes a vibrant spirit full of hope.

     How can that be? Why is that? How can these men end up in exactly the opposite place we would expect? Perhaps their level of life satisfaction is influenced by what each does with his days.

     One spends his days making red marks on tests. He shakes his head in despair about

the inferior quality of students these days and how little they know. One thought that never occurs to him is that perhaps their poor marks are because he hasn’t taught them much at all. Too busy looking down his nose. Too bad that makes him depressed. At least he gets to feel superior to someone…but there is no joy in his heart.

     The other travels the country speaking in boot camps, reform schools, and prisons. He speaks to people like he was when he was young…to people like me when I was young. He tells them we must get back to “The three R’s. Not reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic,” but rather “Responsibility, Respect, and Resiliency.”   Mr. Alejandro thinks we should hold students to a high standard…and that we should hold professors to an even higher standard.

“I want to plant seeds,” he says. “Seeds of hope that will grow into great trees and provide shade so people can sit under them and have hope. A shade I will never sit under.”

     Good for you, Aaron Alejandro. Thank God for people like you. And you, professor?

Shame on you. Shame on you for not giving your students the very thing that put you where you are. Love, acceptance, encouragement, and hope.

That would have given you joy.



–Michael Johnson     







HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

Post a comment!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *