The search for a missing person
This is a dual professor class, the newest addition to this team was intrigued when researching the class because the exposure to "real life" players was limited to the media aspect, leaving the victim and the reason for the story in the background, if not omitted completely. When first asked, I responded with "Of course, if you think I can help." Only God knew that a year from this conversation, my sister's kidnapping wouldn't be media coverage of the past but current events for the students sitting in the classroom.
Words have such power, to lift up or tear down. The reiteration of my own thoughts, compounded with those on the news, was the fertilizer for internal destruction. I did not share my rants, questions, or concerns with others because I feared they would think ill of me."
I shared about my sister, Heidi M Allen's kidnapping, and asked how many had seen or read recent news coverage about her case. With inquisitive, solemn, and sad faces...every hand raised. Of course, they had assigned reading prior to my guest lecture but in addition, due to the intense coverage of the hearing...a cold case was fresh in their mind. This also opened the door to share about how media reporting has changed over the past couple decades, from my perspective.
Sadly, not a single family could think of a positive experience off the top of their head but the negative and heart breaking ones were plentiful. So how do I express this in a way that reaches both the traditional and non-traditional college student?
"Imagine you are interviewing your spouse, parent, sibling, neighbor, best friend, grandparent, or whoever that close person to you is." If you're like me, you've heard the "Put yourself in someone else's shoes." at least once in your lifetime.
To me, this will help you be better at whatever career you pursue in life. When we can empathize and put ourselves in the situation of another, we tend to respond instead of react. I ended our time together with a quote and a picture of Winnie the Pooh. I introduced the notion that the person they are interviewing could be them or a loved one since anything could happen while walking across campus, on the way home, or while we were sitting in the classroom. I was glad to see so many head nods in agreement.
I'm grateful for the opportunity to share with these future news media. If my short message helps even one person interview with grace, compassion, and empathy then our time together was a success. While "breaking news" is news, it's also someone's loved one, possibly still in shock, or twenty years later, thrust back into the shock with new discussions and information. If there was a way to receive feedback from the students, I'd ask, "How did our brief time together confirm or change your way of thinking, preparing, and interviewing?"
“You catch more flies with honey
than you do with vinegar”
~ English Proverb ~