Saturday, July 18, 2009

Learning from Walter Cronkite's life

Walter Cronkite died yesterday at the age of 92. While reading CNN's tribute, I thought of so many lessons we can learn from his life. I didn't know him, so I'm just speculating from things I've read. You can see pieces of the CNN article in quotes below, and some of the lessons I hope to garner from his life.

[Walter Cronkite] was called -- without irony -- "the most trusted man in America."
He was a man of integrity. He spoke from his heart, and he was true to his word. He was trusted because he was trustworthy.

Cronkite seemed a little taken aback by his status; in his 1996 memoir, "A Reporter's Life," he is consistently self-deprecating and rarely fails to mention a writer, producer or CBS staffer who helped him nail a story.
He was humble, and he realized that he was part of a team. His goal wasn't to be the best to the detriment of others. His goal was simply to do the best work he could do, and to help his team achieve. He also reminds us of the power of the phrase 'thank you' - when we are thankful for the contributions of others, they will continue to do good works for the team.

Cronkite did not take his role lightly. He delivered the news with care and consideration and humanity
He was not crass. He was thoughtful in the way he used his words and performed his work. He didn't pretend to be super righteous - he was a real man, authentic in character and work.

He never ceased to promote the need for solid, well-sourced news, nor was he quiet when he felt that trust was being eroded.
He was faithful to his beliefs. He stood for truth and he had a lifelong commitment to seeing truth revealed.

He never ceased loving journalism, a career he treated like a gift.
He was grateful for his career. He found a job that used his skills and talents; a job for which he felt great passion. I doubt he liked *everything* about his career, but he clung to the things he loved and focused on the good parts. We spend so much time working, that it's improtant to find work that you can enjoy.

He was along for the ride of history, and he enjoyed every minute.
He was grateful for his life and he lived it with fervor.

I hope we can model this kind of life for the children and youth around us!