Tuesday's With Morrie

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Morrie Schwartz was a college professor at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He was very other-oriented and had a different attitude about the world which changed when he became aware that he had a disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease. He had less than two years to live. He could no longer enjoy activities such as dancing and going to the YMCA. Instead, Morrie's self-fulfilling prophecy was to teach others about death by communicating his spiritual self. Morrie said that living meant being responsive to others and being able to communicate emotions and feelings. Mitch Albom was one of Morrie's students at Brandeis University. After graduating, he moved to New York City where he dreamed of becoming a famous musician, but after his uncle passed he questioned his life position. He decided to go back to school for journalism and eventually found a great job at the Detroit Free Press where he wrote about professional sports. The media demand and competition improved Mitch's self-concept and his accomplishments and material self gave him a sense of control and self worth. After sixteen years passed, Mitch was flipping through channels on the television and saw Morrie on ABC-TV's "Nightline" with host, Ted Koppel. Mitch traveled back to Boston to see Morrie. When he arrived at his house, Mitch was faced with communication apprehension. He was shocked to see his old professor and used avoidance, trying to multitask while his Morrie awaited in his wheelchair on the front lawn. Morrie was excited to see that Mitch had come back and they both greeted and hugged each other. Morrie had a need for affection; he enjoyed touch, hugs and kisses, which could be viewed as a feminine thing in our culture. Morrie asked Mitch many questions that might have been in a hidden or unknown area of the Johari Window. He asked if he gave to his community, if he was at peace with himself and if he's trying to be as human as he can be. They weren't ordinary questions you would ask someone that you haven't seen in a while, but that part of Morrie's personality. The questions made Mitch feel uncomfortable because he had changed a lot since college. Everything he promised himself he wouldn't do, he did. He traded in his dreams for a larger paycheck when he promised himself that he would never work for money.

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