Everything from school lunch boxes to T-shirts and bumper stickers on his parents’ cars to posters in his bedroom carried messages about causes in which he was interested. He was an early reader, so his passions were based on what he could learn. He had a genuine thirst for facts, details, and data; he thrived on them. He was intellectually talented with great capacity to learn and retain what he had learned.

His parents encouraged and supported their precocious son. There were however ground rules. No one is a know-it-all, even though they may convince themselves that they are. Discussions are thought provoking and tend to engage others, while arguments can easily frustrate and distance others. There is a very real difference between facts and opinions. Mistakes are a genuine learning opportunity. Lying to prove your point indicates that you really have no point at all. And maybe most importantly, the truth matters!

Dr. Mike McGough is a retired York College professor who currently works as a leadership consultant.

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