Ted was mentored by Tiziana's father
I was raised in Battle Creek, Michigan with a sister who is two years older than me. We were not poor; we were not wealthy. My parents owned a small neighborhood grocery store open seven days a week and worked hard to support the family. I’ve been blessed to have the intellectual ability to do what I’ve wanted professionally and attended college on a full scholarship. “Rising” is not only about financial success and intellectual abilitiy; it is also about relationships. I know my parents and my sister have always loved me, but we never had a close personal relationship. In high school I became involved in a religious retreat experience which opened my eyes to the ever present opportunity to care for and bond more closely with others. As a part of that experience I met Jimmie Dearing who was twelve years older than me and married with six children. He portrayed a kindness and gentleness that I hadn’t experienced with another male in my life to that point. At first introduction to Jimmie he gave me a hug which totally took me by surprise! I was fortunate to get to know him better as we both became more involved in assisting to run religious retreat weekends together. As I grew closer personally not only to Jimmie, but also his family, it was impossible not be drawn in by the outward affection and warmth exhibited by him, his wife, and children. In short time, I began hugging my parents and sister and they gradually warmed to the show of affection.
I have been married 26 years and we have two boys (22 and 23 years old). While dating my future wife many years ago, I met her parents and eight siblings. A very loving family, but not physically affectionate until they met me! Now, the hugs are natural and expected. The Dearing family also helped to nurture my ability to reach out more to others and offer assistance as needed, exemplified by their willingness to take in wayward children at times and even adopt another daughter. Following this example, my wife and I have now fostered twenty-three children over many years.
My major employment during my adult life has been as a university professor and medical professional. In all my daily contacts with colleagues, students, and patients I always strive to be friendly and attempt to learn about others and care for their feelings and situations. I work with students who will be future therapists and nurses and attempt to exemplify the caring attitude I hope they will exhibit toward their patients and family members.
I am blessed economically and professionally as are many people. But I am most proud of my ability to interact with those I meet in a personal, caring way. I have “risen” in my abilities to interact with the people I meet and help them to more openly share themselves with others mainly from my mentor, Jimmie Dearing.
When you were growing up, what was your dream job?
Being a medical doctor and surgeon.
Do you have a favorite place or neighborhood that inspires you?
Going to church or chapel.
What do you need now to continue rising?
Continued interaction with people that inspire me.