discovered" has much in common with recognition, mentoring, and even discipleship.
Recognition for a talent or an attainment can inspire a person to attempt and
reach higher plateaus than he or she might otherwise attain. "Con men," presumably,
can pretend to have achieved important recognitions which they turn into at least
temporary success (Johnstown recently had a case of a man allegedly pretending
to have earned a teaching credential that enabled him to teach high school, for
example) but I've never found it possible to pretend to be something I'm not.
There may be only a small disconnect between playing confidence scams and practicing
what the "success manuals" and seminars recommend, "visualizing success," as a
step to achieving leadership in a chosen field or endeavor.
The most important recognitions in my life have been being hired as editor of
the Nanty Glo Journal at age 20 and my master's degree. Both were earned
through years of small steps in a consistent direction, but the editor post can
also be attributed to my being recognized in my teens as a teachable and worthy
protege by Andy Rogalski, my predecessor as editor, my mentor, and the one who
nominated me for the job when he announced his resignation.
the first formal public recognition I ever received was a "scholastic achievement"
award from the Blacklick Township School Board and the Twin Rocks VFW Post at
eighth-grade graduation. The actual award was a one-volume encyclopedia-dictionary
that I have lugged with me everywhere I've gone since, and still proudly display
in my home library. I'm not sure I was in the top five in my class in honor roll
grades, but have always assumed the award was based on my participation in school
life (singing solos for PTA meetings, creating skits for school assemblies, and
I don't know whether any members of the high school
faculty attended the eighth grade graduation or even if they read about the details
of it in the next week's paper, and have never been aware of any changes winning
that honor wrought in my life. I'm sure the fact that I was Gary Kennedy's younger
brother made a bigger impression on the high school faculty than my eighth grade
achievements or the fact that I was writing weekly in the Mountaineer Herald.
Voted most likely to succeed in my high school senior class, I won no school honors
at that graduation, but had already won a state senatorial scholarship to Johnstown
College/Pitt, which was supposed to be mentioned by the guest dignitary delivering
the graduation speech, JCP President Theodore Biddle. But he somehow overlooked
me and sent a written apology for the oversight a day or two later (I believe
there were several other seniors whom he did mention). His written recognition
(in the form of the apology), may have been even better (as anyone who has read
Dale Carnegie would know) because, for one thing, it probably impressed me in
his memory thereafter and we were more friendly during my undergraduate college
years than, I'm sure, most students are with their college presidents.
Having to work to support myself through college, it wasn't until seven years
after high school graduation that I won my bachelor's, at a college in New Jersey
even smaller than JCP, and at that event I received the President's Award for
outstanding contribution to college life. Though I appreciated the recognition,
I doubt that it had any role in my acceptance to the MA journalism program at
UCLA three years later.
I started this
topic as a look at the negative ramifications (mainly) of "being discoverd."
It looks like it will take a while to get there.
complete index of Jon Kennedy's Jonals for 2001 - 2005