5 Minute Interview: Ken Wert
Alvin: Who are you, what do you do, and what do you enjoy most about it?
Ken: Hi Alvin. I appreciate this opportunity. At my core, I’m a family man. I love my family and love being around them. My favorite day would be a Sunday, being with my wife and kids and extended family too, after church and just hanging out, talking, laughing.
What further defines who I am is my passion to make a difference, to live a life that matters, to build meaning and purpose by helping others to live with greater meaning and purpose in their lives. This is largely the driving force behind my decision to become a teacher.
It is the same passion that pushed me into blogging with www.meanttobehappy.com. Meant to be Happy is a project of love. It is my desire to make a difference in the world, to leave someone (preferably a whole lot of someones) happier, more fulfilled with life and living closer to their potential, better equipped to overcome heartache and challenge and better motivated to rise above their own limitations, growing and improving, developing attributes and character traits along the way that will transform their lives.
I love thinking through issues of happiness. I enjoy the research. I enjoy composing each post. And I love the process of learning and developing as a writer as I go.
Other than blogging, I teach high school seniors economics and AP U.S. Government and Politics. I’ve also taught U.S. History on occasion.
As far as what I like best about teaching, I love ideas that matter. Good ideas have built nations and societies and families and lives. Bad ones corrupt and destroy such things. I love teaching important ideas to people who are just starting to think about them and grapple with the historical lessons the application of such ideas have produced. I also enjoy the ongoing relationships I’ve built with many of my former students, many of whom see me now as a mentor or father figure in their lives and have come back to visit over the years. This part of teaching was unanticipated and has come to mean a lot to me.
Alvin: Pick any man in the world, who would be most influential to you and why?
Ken: This may sound a little cheesy, but there’s no escaping it. I’m going to cheat a bit here, though, and deviate from the “in this world” part of your question. The most influential man in my life, hands down, is Jesus. He was the quintessential man’s man for 5 reasons:
1. He knew who he was and had the courage to be it.
2. When he saw wrong, he called those he saw doing the wrong on it.
3. He had a mission in life and pursued it without deviation.
4. He was man enough to love and hug and even cry on occasion.
5. He exemplified the character traits I want in my life.
Bonus: Oh yeah, and he was the savior of the world.
Alvin: What do you wish to accomplish 1 year from today?
Ken: My goal is to have my fledgling blog, www.meanttobehappy.com, reach an ever-wider readership so my ideas can reach an ever-expanding number of people, providing them with answers to their questions about life and meaning and passion and happiness. I also want to reach an income level from blogging that will take us to the next level.
Alvin: As a teacher and a residential counselor what has been your greatest lesson learned?
Ken: You can do so much to reach into the hearts and lives of people who want to be reached. But there is almost nothing that you can do to influence a change in the life of a person who doesn’t care. So it’s at the level of giving them a reason to care that is the first step to change among the apathetic.
Alvin: What has been your largest step to manhood?
Ken: This one’s a no-brainer: Marriage and fatherhood. Neither has always been easy. I have had to suck it up many times to be the man I knew I should be in the process of working out what both roles mean and deserve in my life. Those challenges have made me a better man than I could have ever become in the time it has taken me in any other way.
Alvin: What’s been the best advice you received about being a man?
Ken: Good question. Being a man is much more than chronology. There are plenty of old children. The best advice I’ve received is probably a composite of many different people’s advice, both living and historical figures who have taught me about manhood from the grave.
This is what I think I have learned from those mentors of manhood: Being a man is taking responsibility for my actions and thoughts and the circumstances of my life. It is courage and strength of character. It is living honorably. It is the willingness to take a punch by life and stay the course simply because it’s the right course to stay. It is the courage to stay it, the humility to learn from it, the dignity to stand while struggling with it and the determination to continue when it is hardest.0