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Reflecting on The Passing of An Extraordinary Teacher

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
September 8, 2020 2:24 pm

Reflecting on The Passing of An Extraordinary Teacher

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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September 8, 2020 2:24 pm

Think of a teacher who left a huge impact on you. If they are still alive, call them. If not, maybe call their family and let them. Teachers deserve to know when what they offer in the classroom extends for a lifetime. 

Such is the case with my college composition professor and advisor, Bill Pursell. 

He was also a fellow caregiver, and the lessons I learned from him in his studio and classroom will stay with me for the rest of my life. 

Peter Rosenberger is the host of HOPE FOR THE CAREGIVER.  Now in his 35th year as a caregiver, Peter draws upon his vast experience to help strengthen fellow caregivers. 

Hope for the Caregiver
Peter Rosenberger
Hope for the Caregiver
Peter Rosenberger
Hope for the Caregiver
Peter Rosenberger
Hope for the Caregiver
Peter Rosenberger
Hope for the Caregiver
Peter Rosenberger

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Call 866-WINASIA or to see chickens and other animals to donate, go to Welcome to Hope for the Caregiver. I am Peter Rosaburger. This is the nation's number one show for you as a family caregiver. How are you feeling? How are you doing? How are you holding up?

What's going on with you? That's the purpose of this show is to explore the caregiver's heart and help lead back to a place of safety where we can catch our breathtaking knee if we have to and develop some healthier strategies to live as a caregiver. We don't have to wait to be healthy. We don't have to wait to be joyful. We don't have to wait to be prosperous until our caregiving responsibilities are over. For some of us, that may not be over for a lifetime. Now in my 35th year, I kind of figured that out after a couple of decades. Hey, wait a minute.

Maybe I better get a job. No, I'm just kidding. There is something about the longevity of this that does drive home the point. And speaking of driving home the point, here he is. You know him. You love him.

He's John Butler, the Count of Mighty Disco. John, how are you feeling? Oh, I am just PG. How about yourself? It's a little warm here in Montana. We've had 90 plus degree weather here, and that's a dry heat. It's hotter than it is here. And I find myself in Tennessee. Ed, what's it like in Dallas today? 90 here. Dallas is just hot. That's just hot. But we don't have the humidity, but tomorrow night it's going to get down to 19.

Oh, wow. That's quite a drop, isn't it? It's actually really, it's just coming into fall here in Tennessee.

So it's like, you know, 68, 72. We just had some storms come through a couple of days ago. It's just really like this is the first, oh wow, it's not oppressive day in a long time. Well, we've had some nice weather that all of a sudden we've just got this heat wave. We've got a lot of fires up here, too, over in Bozeman.

The bridges are on fire over there, and it's real smoky, but hopefully the rain is coming tomorrow and we can get a little bit on top of this. But doing okay. I wasn't going to necessarily get into this, but the more I thought about it just right before the show opening, if you'll indulge me for a moment, I lost a teacher this week. Someone who I was incredibly fond of. He was my advisor in college and my composition professor at Belmont University in Nashville. His name was Bill Purcell, and Bill was 94 years old and still had tremendous mental acuity and piano dexterity. In fact, his daughter posted something on social media recently, just yesterday, because he just died like four or five days ago, and it was the last time he played the piano.

It was just a month ago. And he was playing the piano at a get together, and he was playing the theme from Laura, that movie back in the 40s, written by David Raskin, composed by that, and unbelievable. And I'm good enough at the piano to appreciate how great he is. That's about what I could do. I know enough about the piano to know how bad I really am, and I watch you play, and it's just an order of magnitude or more beyond my capabilities. And then I also know that there are people out there that you look at in the same way. Oh, this is this guy.

He could think in clefs, and all types of clefs, because he would score stuff for symphonies and orchestras and so forth. And I called him for his 94th birthday, and we talked for a while, and then he said, well, Peter, I got to go. I got things to do. And I'm like, you're 94. Where are you going?

But he was going to be getting in the studio, but he caught the coronavirus, and it took him down pretty quickly. John, did you have a favorite teacher? Did you have a favorite teacher?

Well, I don't know about favorite, but there are definitely two or three that stick out at me. And I feel like everybody had a high school or junior high English teacher that changed their life somehow. And that's a good way of putting it, I think. Maybe not an English teacher for everybody, but that you go through, and there definitely were teachers that I look back on, and they changed something in me that I still carry with me to this day. And I think that's all we can really ask for as people in general is to maybe change somebody for the better. But teachers, they get an outsized portion of that, and that's a good thing. I will make this statement. Not all teachers are heroes, but all my heroes are teachers.

And I have found that to be consistent in my life. And so I would ask also, after listening to this podcast, if you have a favorite teacher or somebody made an impact on your life that was beyond and above, if they're still alive, give them a call. And if they're not still alive, seek out their family and just let them know how much that teacher meant to you.

Oh, wow. This man meant a great—and I am so grateful that I had this last phone call with him this summer. And my piano professor, Belmont, and I talked pretty regularly, and he's in his 80s now, and we talk very regularly. And I really cherish these relationships because these are people that had a profound impact on my life. And if you'll indulge me for just a moment, one of the things that Bill Purcell helped me see as a musician was to develop sequences and motifs and not just randomly throw something out there, but to really develop it and mine it.

Now, let me change gears and show why that has cross applications. I was listening to an interview with Jeff Foxworthy, who's been on the show and he's just been a great friend for many years. And he was talking about comedy in the same context, because he said a lot of comedians will come up with a joke and a punchline, and then they'll leave and go to another joke and another punchline. He said, but the real nuances of comedy can be to mine that same joke. He said there's more there, and too many comedians leave more jokes on the table than they were. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

You follow me? That's a good way of putting it. Yeah, well, like a Mitch Hedberg style or something like that, where he's doing one-liners, or who's the… Stephen Wright. Yeah, yeah, it's all one-liners. In Dangerfield, they all did the one-liners. But then you have somebody like Jerry Seinfeld and Jeff Foxworthy, they'll just take it.

Yeah, they loved the callback. And so that's that sequence and that motif that you're doing. They say, okay, I'm going to go a little deeper. Well, that's what my professor Bill Purcell taught me in music, was to mine that a little bit more. Don't just settle for a nice little, you know, doodah on the piano, really mine it. I may turn on the keyboard here. I was going to say, you just turned on the keyboard, didn't you?

Yeah, and give an illustration of this. But one of the things that I admired about that is how that translated other parts of my life. And I found myself doing that as a writer, not a songwriter, but as a writer in my books, in my commentaries and things such as I've done. And I thought, wow, this guy is still living rent-free in my head, you know, teaching me. He's still teaching me, and he retired years ago, you know.

And so, you know, I wanted to just give a… just to let you all know as my audience, there are people that I stand on the shoulders of, tremendous people who have been a source of great encouragement and wisdom and so forth with me over the years. And I'm just kind of melancholy because his mind was still there. He was still able to play better than on my best day.

He's still playing like that, better than me on my best day at 94. And I'm thinking, dang, you know. We spend a lot of time on this show talking about, and rightly so, I might add, we talk about, you know, mistakes being excellent teachers and experience being an excellent teacher and probably one of the best. But there are people out there that, well, just like what kind of the goal of this show is, is to prevent people from having to make those kinds of mistakes. And, you know, it will be partially successful, you know. Well, I'm a don't go down there kind of teacher, you know, I've been down there.

But this guy was a, hey, why didn't you go down there kind of teacher? Ah, okay. And I really like that. Oh, this is a little loud. Sorry. Sorry about that, Ed. So when I would write a theme.

Okay, that's really nice. And I could go. But he would encourage me to just. And just revisit that phrasing, you know, really explore it.

And those are some of the things that I just, you know, and I thought about as a writer and as for this show, you and I do that. Okay, let's go deeper. Let's go deeper.

Why not go down there? Exactly. And that's, well, it's, you know, it's a little bit the opposite of what sometimes we do, which is, look, we're going to explore this so you don't have to, you know, go down this path. Because some of the paths that caregivers deal with end in really unfortunate ways.

And if we can prevent that, then, you know, some of those lessons, well, there are some lessons you don't come back from, unfortunately, if you experience them firsthand. But, you know, that's, but I do appreciate going into what teaching means and what education means, especially to, especially to a caregiver, you know. Well, and I think one of the things I've modeled about this show is the approachability that we want to have.

And I heard this from the radio broadcast, which goes out on Saturday, that's live on a couple hundred stations. And I do this podcast here with you, Jon, like this, because I feel like it gives us a chance to kind of open up the dialogue a little bit. But when I get a lot of callers in and I was listening to one of the guys, the call screeners, and he said, you're like no other show that I've ever screened calls for. I said, what do you mean? He said, well, you are, you're not in a hurry to get rid of the caller. And I said, well, is everyone else?

I didn't know. He said, oh, yeah, they want to get back on so they could hear themselves talking and you want to hear them talking. And I got to throw that back to my teachers because they were so approachable. They let me come in and express how I felt about it. And they took the time with me and it really meant a lot to me. Yeah, yeah. And to be, well, and this is something I was wanting to get into later, but they were able to effectively manage your emotions in such a way that you felt comfortable doing that as opposed to just having to sit there and listen to a lecture or whatever.

Yeah, they never did that. If you had a question, they wanted you to engage. And I think that's what I like about jazz, too, is that both my composition professor and my piano professor had the same philosophy. If you hit a wrong note, you're always a half step away from a right note. And then my piano professor went even further and he said, look, if you hit a wrong note, go to that right note. And then next time you circle back in the song, do it, hit it again so they'll think you did it on purpose. Oh, yeah.

No, no. You told me that years ago and that one really did stick with me, especially like in my playing, because I just do I noodle around an awful lot. I'm like, OK, let me I'll learn something. And then again, like what we're talking about, really explore it and just see what I can what I can learn from this particular chord progression.

Or, you know, maybe I'll learn a little bit more about theory in the course of this. And the metaphor of playing music is really, I think, really good because playing music is, unlike caregiving, a pretty low risk operation. Well, unless you're John Cage.

Then it's high risk to the audience. You mean she who must not be named? I think that's what you're going for.

The Voldemort of music. 877-655-6755. 877-655-6755. If you want to be a part of the show, if you want to call in and share what's on your heart. I just had to indulge a little bit. It was it was a it's been a reflective week when you lose somebody who loomed large in your life, such as a teacher that I had. And Bill Purcell was a an extraordinary human being and an amazing talent and a gifted teacher.

And he left a big, big mark on this world. This is hope for the caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberger. 877-655-6755.

We'll be right back. Have you ever struggled to trust God when lousy things happen to you? I'm Gracie Rosenberger. And in 1983, I experienced a horrific car accident leading to 80 surgeries and both legs amputated. I questioned why God allowed something so brutal to happen to me.

But over time, my questions changed and I discovered courage to trust God. That understanding, along with an appreciation for quality prosthetic limbs, led me to establish Standing with Hope. For more than a dozen years, we've been working with the government of Ghana and West Africa, equipping and training local workers to build and maintain quality prosthetic limbs for their own people. On a regular basis, we purchase and ship equipment and supplies.

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Welcome back to Hope For The Caregiver. I am Peter Rosberger. 877-655-6755. 877-655-6755.

If you want to be a part of the show, that's Gracie and Russ Taft. To wrap all this up, John, and here's the point of all this, is that as I looked at my professor, I'll end up with what I started with at 94 years old. Everybody loves a callback.

Everybody loves a callback. At 94 years old, he's at the piano looking almost the same way he did in college when I was there all those years ago. And he had the same whimsicalness. And at one point, he had a thumbs up, you know, to whoever was watching.

He's like, you know, and he never missed a beat. And his philosophy that he took care of his wife. She had Alzheimer's. And, you know, his philosophy exuded from him that not dying can't be the goal. The goal is not to just not die.

The goal has to be to live. And and living is is not the same as not dying. And this man lived. He lived, you know, zestfully. I mean, he just he he just lived in. And I thought and he was a caregiver, too. And he lived and his talent. It seemed to just deeper and deeper. He kept learning. He kept plumbing.

I was talking to my piano professor who told me when he was I think he was about 75. He said, I just now feel like I'm starting to get into the pocket of the groove. And I thought the guy is played on gig after gig after gig.

I mean, he is the real deal. And he's just down. I thought, what hope is there for me?

He's just getting there. But but I understood the concept was you'd never stop learning. You'd never stop exploring and growing into it. And nothing in your life has to has to infringe on you so much that you can't explore the beauty and the joy that's around you. That's the life lesson. That's the lesson I've learned from both of these men. And and it's an important one to learn for me personally. And I hope it is for it for those of you watching and listening that you will see that you do not have to wait for your loved one to pass away to get better or whatever else for you to continue to delve into the beauty and the joy that's available to you right now.

To me, that's the. The overarching overarching principle of this show and everything else is that how are we going to live today? I don't want to just get through today and not die. I wanted to do something that had vibrancy and life in it. And I can't do it on a level maybe that I would have liked to do, but I love what Helen Keller said. She said we'd all love to do great and noble things.

She said, but I can't. And I'm going to do small things as if they were great and noble. And that's a pretty good quote. So that's a good thoughts on that, John. Yeah, that's that's there's a lot to digest there.

But the idea of the idea of really. Actively living as opposed to being passive and just getting through the day. And this is not to say that there are some days that you're really just going to feel like you've got to get through it.

You know, as we've all been there and that is going to happen. But that too. This is tied into intentionality. We're intentionally trying to live.

We may not get it every day, but we are intentionally starting to make these decisions. And that's a good thing. Yeah. Yeah. And to. Yeah, it's a really. OK. Yeah. This is this.

Unfortunately, we're running up against the back of the hour and we can't get into this. But there is a lot that we can just decide. We can decide to not be miserable sometimes. And people really don't like that concept because it means that they what they feel like it's saying that their sadness is somehow their fault. And that is not the case at all. The sadness can come unbidden.

And we've talked about this before. But misery is is a choice. And you can decide to not be miserable and you can decide to approach life even if it is a really, you know, circumstances of your life are really unfortunate, especially in the moment. And there are some lives out there that are just they're they're tragic and they're they're very, very sad. And those situations are are really, really rough. And there is still this ability, this wonderful ability in humans to to still you know, we still all have our own mind and our own agency.

And we have a wonderful amount of control over the some of the the the things that people like, like misery that are these long term decisions that that we make. And it's it's a it's a rough concept. But, you know, anything we're not going to get it right every time. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, yeah.

And I and I hope that my my fellow caregivers will respond to this in a positive manner. We're not going to get this right every time. We're just not. Yeah. But if we start making intentional decisions and moving, we're going to be moving the ball forward. And in baseball terms, if you put the bat on the ball three out of 10 times, they can put you in the Hall of Fame.

Yeah. So, you know, the goal is not to get it perfect. The goal is just to make progress and to keep learning. And when I when I hear my 75 year old piano professor saying, I just now feel like I'm getting into the pocket of the groove. That's a lifetime of practice and of playing and of getting it wrong and keep doing it to the point where he's seeing such magnificence in the music. And when I see my 94 year old professor playing with such expression and such beauty and such joy, it is it is that's a lifetime. That's a lifetime.

And both of those men would be the first to tell you that they've made uncounted mistakes. Well, sometimes you don't get a great. They keep going back to the piano. Yeah.

Sometimes. Well, sometimes you like the view that you have that they have of the piano. Sometimes you don't get a really great view without a long, hard climb. Gracie and I found that out and we went up to Granite Lake a couple of weeks ago and our son was out here and he took us up and it was a hard trip. And it's hard for her to write ATVs on a thing like that. And some of it's pretty scary to Parker had to help her. At one point, he had to get up, get her off of that. And I had to kind of help ride her up there because the rocks are so big that you could tilt over pretty easily. And then the best view, though, ahead of the whole trip, best view, because we got up there, we're way at the top of the mountain, this magnificent lake.

And it's just it's just extraordinary what we're seeing. But the best view was when we were coming down, we went down this one part of the trail that was pretty gnarly and Gracie did it. She did it very slow and she was a little scared.

But Gracie's tough. She likes to she likes to push herself. And I looked at her go through this one spot and Parker was in the front and he looked back and the smile on his face, looking at his mother doing this after all that she's been through.

You know, I mean, he's you know, he's 32 years old. He's watched her go through all these surgeries, both of her legs gone and all that stuff. And she did it. And that to me was the best view of all. It doesn't have to end.

She was going extremely slow. We weren't we weren't hot dogging or anything else. It doesn't have to be you don't have to throw like Peyton Manning in order to throw the football with your kids. You can just enjoy the journey as it is with whatever limitations you may or may not have. That's the lesson my teachers taught me. Explore the music. Get in.

Just just keep delving into the music. And I hope that's been helpful to you all today as caregivers. Healthy caregivers make better caregivers and part of being healthy is decided.

You know what? I don't have to be miserable. Hope for the caregiver dot com. John, thank you. My pleasure. Absolutely. Thank you. We'll see you next week. This is Peter Rosenberger. Hope for the caregiver dot com.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-24 13:09:05 / 2024-01-24 13:20:04 / 11

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