Remy's Books

Remy's other writings



A Challenge

By Al Beck and Remy Benoit

   The best way to begin to heal yourself is to find someone else who needs your help.

   I know that you want others to understand what you know.

   I know that you want others to understand how you feel.

  You know.

   You have been there.

   We all know what the young don't know about where you have been; about what you have seen; about what you have felt; about what you are still feeling.

   There is not one of us who came into this world alone. Mom was there, probably doctors and nurses where there. Not one of us would have made it beyond the first week without someone feeding us and tending to the other necessaries.

   Along the way you had all kinds of teachers, all kinds of help, and very often all kinds of interference on the path you wanted to take.

   You learned a great number of things in the green; some, many, you wish you hadn't. But learn them you did.

   What is the challenge that I give you?

   The challenge is simple - What are you going to do with it?

   I know what I am asking is hard. To pass along what you have learned you must face it, go into it, process it, and present it to others in ways that reach them.      

   To do that you must use the things that were not encouraged in school. You must use your individuality; you must use your creativity; you must use your compassion. To present, to make understandable what you know you must find ways to reach others' minds, hearts, and souls. No two of us see with the same perspective, nor with the same life experience. Whatever you present must be honest, open ended, and explorable.

   You must become a teacher in your own way, not fitting into some antiquated, nor ill suited mold.  You must excite, you must inspire.
You must generate questions in others' minds.

   I can give you a wonderful example of creativity from one of your own. Gary Jacobson served with B Co 2nd/7th 1st Air Cavalry '66-'67, as a combat infantryman out of LZ Betty near Phan Thiet. He wants this generation to understand what he knew, what you know, as well as the world around them now.
   Visit with him at Nam Tour. Plan on spending a while there.

   Think back to your school days, or daze as it might have been.
 Think back to your growing years, through your life experiences, through the war. Who were your greatest teachers and what do you owe them?

    This is my chance to name two: Mrs. Lillian Reisman from my elementary days, and Dr. Walter Ferree at PSU. I owe them, big time.

    There are teachers out there who want to see changes in how we educate our young. One of them is a very prolific author of eight books; a teacher of creative thinking; an artist, poet, and folksinger. His name is Al Beck and he has over four decades of challenging the world of education to use creative thinking in teaching.

    I told him last night about Jacobson's, "A Combat Soldier's Prayer." A Combat Soldier's Prayer. and "challenged" him to write a "Teacher's Prayer."  I should have known that Al had already done something in that area. His is a prayer of praise for a special teacher in his life which I present here for you with his permission.

Songs From The Rainbow Worm


For someone to grow it takes both time
and at least one great teacher.
That person comes engaged in uncaged inquiry,
cloaked in energy, breathing fire (I could hear the choir).

S was my inspiration. "Everything is here.
Discover it," he said.  Epiphany had arrived
in blue jeans and clean sweatshirt.
Learning previously had been a series of rote,
mental manipulations, curiosity strangulations, hoops,
loops, roll-over-and-parse tricks with very few whoops.
For someone to grow both time and the teacher
must eventually become invisible.

S and I still correspond.  He's retired.
S tells me he understands the undistinguished life.
He accepts the unseen presence.
S believes what Duchamp said that "any kind of painter
who puts down what he sees is stupid."
Mentor inspiration is reality disguised.
(I had been intangibly baptized).
S is convinced he spent his life unnoticed
as an artist, as a teacher.  He is mistaken.
The choice teachers have is to rejoice
or be hidden from themselves.
Teachers are the invisible part of all human history.

What do you have to share?

How will you do it?

What will be your legacy?

The answer to those questions is also simple.

Your legacy will be what you strive for it to be.

What great knowledge, experience, real education, will you pass on to the young, to the next generation?


Blessings on your great work.


No comments.

This item is part of historian, author, editor, and educator Remy Benoit's ongoing weblog for Veterans, writers, students, and others who believe in learning from and making history; including thousands of articles and posts and the free writing seminar, Using History for Healing and Writing.

Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by Remy Benoit. A syntactically valid email address is required.

Remember me?

Email address:


Display neither email nor URL
Display email
Display URL