Glasser and Jordan
My son graduated from law school today and this event, in its own way, brings up warm memories of my friend, Bill Glasser.
Jordan was never much enamored with traditional teaching methods, although learning has always been important to him. During his middle school years he was drawn to music and has poured a lot of his abundant creativity into his guitar, keyboard, and drums ever since. After graduating from high school he was not very excited about college and continuing the whole school thing and seemed intent on heading out on his own, even if the heading out involved elements that to me were short-sighted, unrealistic, and even dangerous.
By the time Jordan graduated from high school in 2001, Glasser and I had become friends. The Glasser Institute (its name at the time) was doing quite a bit of training on the Pacific Union College campus and Glasser was on campus a number of times over a three year period. I had shared with him about Jordan and some concerns I had and he expressed an interest in talking with Jordan, which Jordan was open to as well. After his time with Jordan, Glasser assured me that Jordan was fine and that he was going to be fine in the future.
I felt that Jordan would be fine, too, although the routes that Jordan chose at times created questions in my mind. He did do the college thing for a while, but with just a year left to finish his social work degree, he headed off to New York City to pursue his music and to . . . well . . . experience New York City. NYC is not the easiest place to survive, yet he did so, on his own, and he re-enrolled in Brooklyn College and finished his undergraduate degree. I think he was in NYC for close to seven years.
Not too long after Jordan connected with Glasser, I began my doctoral program, which eventually led to my doing a dissertation on the development of Glasser’s ideas, which then led to my becoming his biographer. Starting in 2003 Glasser and I had a lot of time together, sometimes during formal interviews and sometimes just visiting about life. He would frequently bring up Jordan, interested in how he was doing and what the latest was with him. “He’s gonna be fine,” he would point out. I appreciated his interest and his confidence in my son.
I wish I could call Bill today and let him know that Jordan is more than fine; that he’s married; that he and Katy own a food truck; that they grow a lot of their own food; that they have six chickens; that Jordan continues to love his music; and that he graduated from law school. Bill would celebrate with us today. I feel that he was a part of Jordan’s journey.
Someone said to me today, “You must be very proud.” I replied that I don’t think pride is the word that describes my feelings. I explained that I am very happy for Jordan and that I am impressed with what he navigated to achieve a degree in law. To me, “being proud” has to do with his accomplishment somehow meeting my needs. I want to be careful not to go there. Maybe I am too sensitive about this (a result of choice theory, I think), but I don’t want to convey that something he has done has increased his value in my eyes. I was proud of him before he entered law school and, yes, I am proud of him afterward, but not because of the degree. I am proud of him for the man he has been becoming for quite a while now.
So, it is a big day for our clan and I wish Bill could have been a part of it. Somehow, I think he knew a day like this was coming for Jordan. Thanks again, Bill, for your belief in Jordan, and Jordan, dude, way to go!
Hey, Jim, I remember Bill saying “Stay connected—no matter what.” And you did just that. Hats off—to you both!
Margaret and you have to be very proud of Jordan. We wish him the best of luck in his new career. Love Nadine and Scott
Really good to hear from you, Nadine. I will pass your good wishes on to Jordan. We were talking yesterday how we miss our visits to NYC. It would be good to see you and Scott.
Love to Jordan, wish I could be there!
We so much wish that, too. Hopefully, we can all be together as a family soon.
Yippee! Best wishes as he continues on his journey.
Nice article Jim! Was wonderful to have you both here! Can’t wait till August!
Wonderful writing Jim. I can appreciate the caution that goes with the word and emotion of pride. I think what I read in your words was respect – true respect for who Jordan is and how he’s living his life. Nothing in the world feels better to a son than to know his father respects him.
So interesting how Glasser’s assurance back then that “he’s gonna be fine” provided the freedom that allowed Jordan to begin his journey toward the person that you so respect today.
Well said, Bob. I do respect Jordan a great deal. The “he’s gonna be fine” probably did provide an added piece of freedom to the mix, although I am not sure how significant it was. Jordan has been his own man for quite some time now. Freedom is very important to him, maybe his highest basic need, so he would have seen to his freedom being in place no matter what. Maybe what the “he’s gonna be fine” did was contribute to our relationship staying in place. Honoring another person’s need for freedom is really good for relationships.
There is always hope. Wish my son had the opportunity to meet Glasser. So happy for you and Jordan.
Thank you, Sheryl. I appreciated Glasser’s interest in Jordan, and I appreciated Jordan’s coming to see the importance of Glasser’s ideas. I hope our family will always treat each other with the Caring Habits.
Jim, your next to the last paragraph was stellar. Thank you so much for clarifying your thoughts about not deriving your worth through your children’s accomplishments. Thank you also for pointing out that Jordan’s accomplishments are not what create your appreciation and value of him.
Choice theory has helped me to see that my son or daughter’s accomplishments are just that — their accomplishments. I celebrate with them, however I want to be careful about coming across like I value them more because of something they did. Thanks for your affirmation regarding this point.
Ah…. love the pic! Can’t wait to see Jordon and Katy…..
It was a really good weekend! Jordan and Katy were wonderful hosts. A good time was had by all.