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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Substance or Drama–Which Is More Effective?

Jack Pohl passed on about two months ago. He was 92 years old.  Today his family attended a memorial service for him at Westminster Suncoast.  This is the kind of man Jack was.  Connie is my wife now, but over a year ago we had not met.  Connie at the time was attending a Sunday afternoon movie in the lounge.  Jack was also in attendance and was aware that Connie had recently been in the health center for back therapy.  Knowing that she was in pain, Jack asked her to lie down on the couch, handed her a pillow for her head, then took off her shoes.  Later, when the movie was over, before leaving he asked if there was anything else he could do for her.

Jack was in this way always highly sensitive to the needs of others.  He was a sweet man.  I say this with no dissonance whatever even though he was also a airplane gunner in WWII.  He was realistically helpful and quietly did what had to be done with notable generosity.

Thinking of Jack and his sweetness based as it was upon a thoughtful and considerate temperament (and by this I mean creative intellectual vigor), brings to mind the current discussion of temperament and presidential character.  Can a president of the United States be sweet, or must he/she be cavalierly domineering?  Was Lincoln sweet? He fired several tentative generals; yet he could write “with malice towards none.”  Was FDR loved in part because he was sweet, though he asked for a declaration of war?  Is Obama often excoriated because he does not display a roughshod domineering nature, but rather is characteristically thoughtful and considerate–the attribute of immense personal control based upon creative intellectual vigor.  Substance or drama–which is more effective?  Nature provides an ambiguous answer.

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