The Driving Force

Ernest Fremont Tittle

Ernest Fremont Tittle

When I was 58 years old, I asked Robert Moats Miller, PhD. “what was it with our family?”  He gave me a lovely supportive answer about my successes in life and how proud he was of me.  That was a nice way of saying, “please read my book.”  “How Shall They Hear Without a Preacher?” was published in 1971 the year after Buzzy passed.  I was 68 when I plowed through all 510 pages affirming that I touched every one, yet focused upon four chapters almost word for word.  I was looking to see what shaped my thinking; my attitudes; my values; and my behaviors in total.

This man whom I can say I saw perhaps 3 times in my memory, shaped the lives of everyone in the family tree beneath him.  In 1918 he was the highest paid clergyman in the country holding that position until the Depression hit.  Then he lowered his salary to fit the times.  It was the mythology of his having been who he was and what he expected of mankind that so affected three generations of descendants.  I look at Linda’s and my two children and can say that the problem is well on the way to being fixed.  They are huggie, touchy, feely folks now and are teaching their children to be nurturing young people.  This is a behavior quite absent from my view of the family tree.

For years I kept this picture in my office area looking up, seeing a cold visage staring back.  The day I saw a smile on that face, I said, “You SOB, you are smiling!”  I knew I had turned a corner in my own life.  I was free of the baggage of expectations long attributed to his influence.  My father was permanently damaged by those expectations.  I do wish I had known them; both my father and grandfather.  Reading the biography, I felt like a peer rather than a descendent.  None in the family have held the national respect which he enjoyed.  Yet, I was driven my similar instincts my whole career.  Always be honest; always tell the truth; always do the right thing; try to save the world.

I wish I could tell Dr. Robert Moats Miller that his book was enlightenment for me.  Sadly, he passed a few years ago.  He knew I would find my own answers.

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