Family and Consumer Sciences
This outline is offered with some degree of reticence because of the nature of the subject matter. The context at the time of the original presentation was quite different than that of the present.
My retirement was at hand after twenty-three years in the service of Ouachita in one capacity or another. That figure does not include my four years as a student. The point is that I knew my audience about as well as one can know others. They, in turn, knew me quite well. I spoke as one speaks to a “band of brothers.” The context allowed for some extraordinary openness by a usually basically private person. I was sharing my inner thoughts with my friends. I asked that there be no recording because the lecture was intended for that audience only.
Now, ten years later, my friend, Ray, inquires about my willingness to allow the outline to be published. Ten years of personnel changes means that many of the Ouachita family are unknown to me and they, in turn, “know not Joseph” (Ben, for those who aren’t acquainted with the Old Testament). That is quite a different context than the original one.
Ray, as you know, is a patient man. He has tolerated my indecision and quirkiness, and has coaxed me through the process of deciding that, yes, we would publish. So, friends known and unknown, here it is.
Perhaps the best explanation to those who do not know me is to compare myself in this instance to the fellow who, in a shopping mall in a major city, threw himself into a plate glass window. As his wounds were being tended, someone asked why in the world he did it. His explanation was, “At the time, it seemed the thing to do.”
Elrod, Ben, "My Last Lecture" (2008). Presentations and Lectures. 21.