Not Without My Dutch Uncle

Saturday April 4th 2020 by SocraticDev

In reading Randy Pausch's book "The Last Lecture", the reader accompanies a man spending his last months preparing to leave life.

Randy Pausch (1960-2008) was an American professor and human-machine interface and virtual worlds specialist. He is best known for his last lecture given on September 18, 2007. In a last effort to transmit his human experience, he relates episodes from his life and lessons received through many tribulations.

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The author revisits his childhood in order to take stock: did he fulfill his childhood dreams? One of his dreams was to become a professional footballer in the NFL. It was a failure. But he learned a lot from Coach Graham. This trainer who insisted on teaching the fundamentals of sport and who, above all, did not spare his proteges.

One day Coach Graham made Randy repeat maneuvers. Without success. Coach Graham therefore forced him to stay put after practice and do push-ups.

the assistant: "The Coach made your life difficult today, right?"

Randy: (weakly) "yes ..."

the assistant: "It's a good thing. When you mess around and no one says anything

that means they gave up on you. "

"This lesson has stayed with me all my life. When we find that we are acting like a jerk and no one bothering to point this out to us is a bad situation. You may not want to hear it, but those who criticize you are often those who love you and care about you and want you to get better."

The Dutch uncle

Human relationships are becoming increasingly artificial. Political correctness, false positivity and professional prudence too often prevent us from giving honest feedbacks. There is an English expression for someone giving honest feedback: 'a Dutch Uncle'.

I recognize myself in Randy Pausch who describes himself as someone with a well-hung tongue who do not hesitate to make your opinion known. Its research director at University Brown, Andy van Dam (a Dutchman!) Offered him this remark: "Randy, it's really a shame that people see you as arrogant because it's going to limit what you will be able to accomplish in life."

"The wording was perfect. He said to me 'Randy, you're acting like an asshole.' But in order to keep me open to criticism. [...] I like to think that my faults fall under the 'social' rather than 'moral' category. And I was fortunate to benefit from people like Andy who cared enough about me to tell me the things I needed to hear."

Randy Pausch passed away at home on July 25, 2008.

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Translated from french with Google Translate