Without building rapport, we are lost as a society

FI-Letter-to-the-EditorTo the Editor

As I reflect, my past efforts bring back so many memories as all these horrendously vile events fly about in today’s world.

I’ll never forget going to college in the 1960s. My father heard that I was talking to an Army recruiter because I wanted a military career. Yet he said, “I hear, Jim, that there’s something brewing over there in Indochina.”

So I’m ordered to go to college and I asked, “What college wants a guy with all art and shop class background?” “What about an art college?” replied my conservative father, who then went and found the most progressive, with big names like Albers who founded Yale’s graduate arts program.

I fit in as well as a round peg in a square hole. Vietnam is raging and Barry Sadler’s Green Beret Song is number one so I verbally battled for the war. I, a six-foot three-inch army of one, with a main opponent of a huge cro-magnon-like man, who looked more like a lineman for the New York Giants than a head art history teacher.

I’d wear a green beret and we verbally battled for two years. Then I was accepted to both Penn and Yale’s graduate arts programs. I went to Penn’s grad school, only to be drafted by Nixon’s rescinding of grad student exceptions.

The art history instructor and I developed a strong rapport and we parted company with a strong, mutual respect. Well, today I see little rapport. The honorable respect that rapport develops is missing today.

Rapport between opponents can make a real difference. It’s one of our human qualities that elevates us from the animal world. Without it, I find decline in our ability to balance differences.

I see all want to win, yet if all gave they might actually allow society to win as a whole. I know this from experience because for years I have given to community and have found that most want to strut their stuff and take.

Change can only happen through force of our will and by giving up comforts so as to cut off economically those that will not try to develop rapport.

 

Jim C. Reilly
Greenwich

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