I found out a few days ago a professor from Hanover College passed away unexpectedly while recovering from a broken arm. His name was Dr. Robert Rosenthal, he was 82 years old. I knew him as Dr. Bob. He taught philosophy and it was an honor to be a part of his classroom. I can tell you if it were not for him, I would not be the person I am today. I have learned a tremendous amount from this man in my young life. Everything from being a good student, to proper behavior, work ethic, conservationism, and living harmonious with my God, environment, and my community. By far his classes were some of the most unique and eye-opening experiences I had in my life and I am glad to have participated.
Other than teaching excellent informative information in a nonintimidating, safe environment, he taught me a lot about work ethics. I first got to know Dr. Bob by being able to do yardwork around his cabin. Located in an incredibly remote area of southern Indiana, covered in wooded areas with a beautiful trickling creek stood a cabin. I remember the jobs being from raking leaves, to chopping wood, to cutting down trees and other things. To be honest I only knew how to rake leaves, never chopped or spit wood before, and never even touched a chainsaw before. But my inexperience on the job never worried Dr. Bob. He had enough confidence in me and my ability to learn on the job. That taught me a lesson in life as I got older. Find a person, with not necessarily experience, but a person that is willing to learn. You can teach skill; you can teach someone to do a task. It takes patience, laughter, and just a straight up good attitude. On his property I learned all about having a hard work ethic and that translated right into my studies. I was not the best student in college, but I was determined to learn at all costs to find success.
As I got to know Dr. Bob more and more, I learned that he was not just a philosophy professor, he was an artist. The man can play guitar insanely well and can sing. I did not expect this one bit. I saw him as a professor in a stuffy office, covered in literature. I imagined all he did was read and judging from the remoteness of his cabin in the woods only confirmed my stereotype that this man enjoys isolation and his separation from the world. I could never be more wrong. He plays music, he sings, he uses these forms of communication to connect with each other. A talent that I never expected, and for him, it was nothing special, just something to enjoy and liked that it made people happy and feel at peace. He never bragged about his talent, just humbly and quietly made it known.
It taught me, that I could easily judge a person based on my stereotypes and biases. People can be surprising; people can be what we initially thought was unexpected. Never judge a person on one’s own biases, but let the person be who they are, give them the space to be natural and comfortable so that a person can thrive and find happiness. Leaving a footprint on the earth doesn’t have to involve force or doesn’t have to be loud or big, its just all about being… being yourself.
I really do miss Dr. Bob. Thank you for respecting me as a human being, as a Christian, and giving me the tools to be a better person. I learned a lot about myself because of Dr. Bob. I was challenged in the classroom, but also in my development from a student to a man. Thank you for leaving an impact on my life and teaching me to reach beyond my imaginations.
Hey this is Rev. Brian Choi's random thought throughout my week. Most of this stuff, will probably be about family, church, fishing, music, movies, food, whatever I think of, hopefully it will have some sort of theological reflection (maybe).