Today, I recall a certain discussion I recently had with old friend and long time mentor, Dr. Howard Stein.  Howard was sharing a story about a former student who, frustrated with her progress at the end of the semester, confronted Howard after class at his lectern and asked in a loud voice that the rest of the class could hear, “What do you want from me?!”

Howard shouted back at her, so the rest of the class could hear his response to her, too: “I want three things from you!  Intelligence!  Intensity!  Integrity!”

Those “Three ‘I'” totems were hammered into us by Howard from Day One of our graduate school classes, and every single day thereafter — so his answer should not have been a surprise to her — and it wasn’t.  Deflated, the student slinked away to try and do a better job finishing the semester.

What do those three words mean in the larger context of our lives?

When we want intelligence from our students, that means we need original thought coming from a base of tendril thinking where many concepts are conflated into a single, fresh, argument that foments new meaning.  That’s a difficult task to accomplish because you can’t just settle for one right answer.  You need a whole mind full of mindful answers in order to chip away at your own truth in the molten center.

Intensity is the manner in which you present your intelligence.  Do you have a passionate mind and an intellectual heart?  Or do you offer your thoughts will a dullness that precludes any sort of insight or discovery?

Integrity is the most difficult of the “Three ‘I’s” to master because it relies upon a strict moral core.  You cannot fake integrity.  You cannot manufacture integrity.  You have either lived a moral life or you have not.  Integrity demands a history of behavior and it is that very ethical habit of action that binds us to the morality of our own intellectual discovery.  You cannot teach integrity and you cannot buy it — you can only practice it every single day of your life with the hope your integrity will sustain your reputation and enhance your opinion in the public square of ideas.

Posted by David Boles

David Boles was born in Nebraska and his MFA is from Columbia University in the City of New York. He is an Author, Lyricist, Playwright, Publisher, Editor, Actor, Designer, Director, Poet, Producer, and Boodle Boy for print, radio, television, film, the web and the live stage. With more than 50 books in print, David continues to write 2MM words a year. He has authored over 25K articles and published more. Read the Prairie Voice Archive at Boles.com | Buy his books at David Boles Books Writing & Publishing | Earn the world with David Boles University | Get a script doctored at Script Professor | Touch American Sign Language mastery at Hardcore ASL.

6 Comments

  1. Sounds like you had a really good teacher in Howard Stein, David. The lessons you learned need to be passed on. I guess that’s why you write blogs.

    Like

    Reply

    1. Blogging is a great way to preserve the truth, Anne, and yes, you’re right, I’m sure that’s why I do my best to write and publish 14 blogs! SMILE!

      Like

      Reply

  2. That’s exactly why I contribute what I can to the blog network — the three Is!

    Like

    Reply

    1. Love it, Gordon! We need you and all your Is! SMILE!

      Like

      Reply

  3. […] Society is materialistic.  The university used to be a safe haven where ideas mattered and thoughts were given greater standing than finding ways to make more money.  Peter Thiel believes higher education is a bubble ready for the bursting — but you can only agree with Thiel’s thesis if you also believe students attend university to get a job.  I don’t happen to purchase his premise.  I believe students should attend university in order to learn what they do not know. […]

    Like

    Reply

  4. […] Matt Damon recently stood up for teachers and the teaching profession.  He crushes the Peter Thiel method of thinking about education, as I described, on April 26, 2011: Society is materialistic.  The university used to be a safe haven where ideas mattered and thoughts were given greater standing than finding ways to make more money.  Peter Thiel believes higher education is a bubble ready for the bursting — but you can only agree with Thiel’s thesis if you also believe students attend university to get a job.  I don’t happen to purchase his premise.  I believe students should attend university in order to learn what they do not know. […]

    Like

    Reply

Share Your Thoughts:

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s