On Being Acknowledged

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Educator of the Year Award

At the June, 2018 American Society of Dowsers Convention held in New Paltz, New York, I was honored with the Educator of the Year Award.

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This is not the first time I have been given a National Award. I have five from hypnosis organizations (the list is here). And while I regularly teach at national and regional dowsing conferences, run Central Virginia Dowsers, monthly Dowsing Support Teleconference Calls, and have written 9 books and over 118 articles on hypnosis, dowsing, self help, mind-body healing, etc, NONETHELESS it means a great deal to be recognized, not just for me, but for anyone.

The importance of recognition

Being seen, heard, appreciated, publicly acknowledged for whatever contribution we make in life is one of the best gifts we can receive and give to another. Many people go through life feeling invisible, and that their work, loyalty, dependability, kindness and consideration, their going the ‘extra mile’ are taken for granted. That is devastating to the human spirit, causing resentment, bitterness, anger or great sadness. Worse, it causes people to sometimes give up instead of continuing to do their work. The world suffers then as a result.

It doesn’t matter if that work is Mom reliably making your meals, washing your clothes, getting you to school on time. Or it is someone that opens the store every day on time, comes and feeds your animals so you can go away, takes you to the airport, does favors large or small, or fills in the countless gaps where we need and count upon others to help us. Everyone needs to be acknowledged for what they do.

How wonderful if we each could notice and thank others – not just with a superfluous ‘thank you’, but by gripping of the person’s hands, looking them in the eyes, and really conveying genuine appreciation. Let them feel your heart. Being seen and heard and appreciated are vital to the human spirit. Indeed, it is vital for health and life itself. Feeling valued, feeling that we are important, and an integral part of the group is the glue that holds all meaningful relationships together — families, friendships, neighborhoods, communities, businesses, organizations and more. 

Recognition does not mean giving a trophy to every participant, or an award where there was no meaningful effort. Such plaques are empty, even insulting. But it does mean  acknowledging in appropriate ways for the degree of service that is provided or effort made. The best award is one in which others agree that ‘you deserved it’ and can celebrate with you for a job well done. Yet, even small acts of kindness, good manners or common civility should be acknowledged. Someone who has just opened the door for you deserves to be looked in the face when saying ‘thank you‘. Shake the hand of the person who has carried your groceries or loaded your car. Because…

Gratitude blesses the giver as well as the receiver. 

And as to the person who receives the acknowledgment, it is a testament to their rising to the occasion whether there was rain or snow, whether they were tired or having a bad day themselves, whether it was difficult or not. They showed up that day and the next, and the next, to do their part. They noticed a need and fulfilled it. They stepped up to the plate. Yet…

Each of us stands on the shoulders of those that have gone before.

Awards not only honor those that receive them, but to the countless others who taught , mentored or coached them in developing character, discipline, responsibility, skills and expertise, and most important, humanity.

Behind every successful person are dozens of others that helped them along the way.

There is a saying that ‘behind every successful man is a woman’. But in truth, each of us is the person we are today because of others teaching, guiding, inspiring, supporting, and believing in us. No one achieves anything on their own. And in thanking that person, you are also thanking their parents and elders, their teachers, their pastor, their supporters and heroes.

This awareness helps to balance the ego. Yes, the one recognized can be rightfully proud of their achievements and what it took to get there. They can and should honor their own personal dedication and decision to be of service in any way they could, large or small. And at the same time, they should turn around to thank those who made it possible.

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So, in addition to countless others who have helped me including my spiritual team, I want to thank my father, William Erwin Wackenhuth, for what I have achieved and the person I am still in process of becoming. He was a man who dropped out of high school at 16 to go to work as a draftsman. Yet he finished Newark’s Arts High School, then college at Newark College of Engineering and all but the final part of his Master’s Degree, all by going nights and walking miles each day just to save the trolley car fare.

He was a highly intelligent man, lifelong mechanical engineer, inventor, teacher at General Motors, ham radio operator, Sunday school teacher, devoted son, brother, husband and father. He was a Christian who lived by an examined (not blind) faith, and a man of enormous integrity, and dedication to his family. As many have said of him, ‘they broke the mold’ after he died. Yet, I see his legacy being passed on through my son. And I witness others who also were molded by men and women of strong character that are making an impact in their world. It is my hope that these traits become dominant in the American people once more.

 

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