Marshall Rosenberg, founder of the Center for Nonviolent Communication, was a world renowned peacemaker, psychologist, educator and author. He dedicated his life to the study and practice of the conditions that bring about peace. He taught millions, through his books and talks, the skills of honest expression, empathy, naming feelings, and asking for what we need in order to enrich our lives.
His early experience living in racially divided Detroit while he was training as a psychologist contributed to his developing a way to address conflict that emphasizes listening with empathy. He was also influenced in this direction by his association with the renowned psychologist Carl Rogers (1902-1987) who became his mentor, and asked him questions that were unanswerable at the time about how people can be loving and violent at the same time.
The Greater Good Center at the University of California at Berkeley said, “Dr. Rosenberg’s passing is a great loss to those inspired by his embodied, practical approach to peacemaking. And yet his work lives on as an inheritance, one that we may discover, rediscover and invest in ourselves and in one another, sharing these instruments of harmony that were meant to be shared in a diverse, complex, and complicated world.
One of fans of his work said, “Marshall Rosenberg is the mentor I wish we’d all had growing up. We learned to speak but not communicate and that has led to so much unnecessary personal and social misery.”
I’m interested in learning that’s motivated by reverence for life, that’s motivated by a desire to learn skills, to learn new things that help us to better contribute to our own well-being and the well-being of others. And what fills me with great sadness is any learning that I see motivated by coercion.
~ Marshall Rosenberg ~
The Rev. Willie T. Barrow was an American community organizer who championed civil rights for minorities, women, gay people and consumers; opposed the war in Vietnam and apartheid; and mentored generations of community organizers, including Barack Obama and Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Known as the “Little Warrior” (she stood 4 feet 11 inches), she was a fiery advocate for civil rights. She was known as a person who would never back down from her beliefs.
She was married for 56 years and wrote a book on how to get married and stay married. Her advice: “Don’t try and make your mate over. It cannot be done.”
She opened her home to Coretta Scott King, Dorothy Height, and Addie Wyatt, and told the Chicago Sun-Times in 2012 that “We have to teach this generation, to train more Corettas, more Addies, and more Dorothys.”
In a prominent place in her home is a signed photograph of Barack and Michelle Obama and their daughters. The White House released a statement shortly after being notified of Rev Barrow’s death in which the President declared, “To Michelle and me, she was a constant inspiration, a lifelong mentor and a very dear friend. I was proud to be among the more than 100 men and women she called her ‘Godchildren,’ and worked hard to live up to her example. I still do.”
Don Obe was an award-winning contributor to the Canadian magazine industry as an editor, writer, teacher and mentor. As a faculty member at Ryerson University he taught and mentored many of Canada’s brightest journalists. One of those he mentored, also an award winning journalist, said, “Don was one of the great characters of modern Canadian journalism. He could be funny, biting, sweet, profane, hard-assed and kind, sometimes simultaneously.
He was, for decades, the kind of journalist about which movies are made: hard-drinking and irascible with a soft heart. He was an important mentor of mine, as a writer, editor and, especially, as a teacher. But do you know what really matters? I owe everything I know about the soul of journalism to him.”
Another award-winning journalist said of his mentor: “I still hear him in my head: ‘Magazine writing is an intellectual exercise: it involves a lot more thinking than anything else; if you can’t write better than other people talk, you’re in the wrong business. Style at the expense of clarity is a waste of words.’ But quoting his advice does nothing to capture his passion for journalism and writing, especially narrative non-fiction, or his love of sharing that passion.”
“Lots of people, including me, learned so much about teaching journalism from Don,” said Ryerson professor Tim Falconer. “He really was a mentor to so many journalists in this country and that’s quite a thing to say about someone.”
Tom and his brother Ray, known as “Click and Clack,” hosted National Public Radio’s Car Talk show and changed radio talk shows forever. Their off-the-cuff banter, interaction with callers, and ability to make fun of themselves became a model for dozens of radio personalities. Prior to their influence NPR radio was marked by formal, polite, and cautious talk.
Tom’s infectious laugh as he tried to deal with caller’s worries about their automobiles, made the show a hit with both car buffs and those who knew nothing about automobiles. “Tom actually hated working in any world,” says his brother Ray. “Later on, when we were doing Car Talk, he would come in late and leave early. We used to warn him that if he left work any earlier, he’d pass himself coming in.”
Tom became everyone’s car mentor. One listener said, “I know nothing about cars, but when I was responsible for my very own, you and Ray helped me figure out what to listen to and how to communicate it to the person who could fix the problem. As a young woman with a car, you gave me the confidence to deal with others in the car world. You have always been like family to me. You were the crazy, yet helpful uncle that was able to give you that advice that nobody else could give. You have made me a better person, and I will always be grateful for that. I wish you peace and am sending all my love to your family. Thank you for always being there for me.”
Mademoiselle Souvestre founded the girls’ boarding school Allenswood, outside London, where her most famous pupil was Eleanor Roosevelt who went on to become one of the most respected women of the 20th century.
Eleanor’s early life was marked by an alcoholic father and a vain and distant mother (both of whom died before she was ten), and she was sent abroad to boarding school.
Mademoiselle Souvestre was the headmistress of the preparatory school to which young Eleanor was sent. Fortunately, Mademoiselle Souvestre’s goal for her students was to expand their minds and attain intellectual independence. The school used French in many classes. Eleanor turned out to be better prepared than most for Allenswood, due to extensive French tutoring prior to enrolling.
According to Elizabeth Pearce of MentorResources, it was during this period that Eleanor lost her shyness and acquired the self-confidence which would stand her so well in later life. Mademoiselle Souvestre mentored Eleanor, and they made field trips to Venice and Paris, with Eleanor making the arrangements. Mentoring introduced the teenager to the lifestyle of an independent woman. Eleanor always credited Souvestre with forming both her character and her intellectual outlook. The First Lady’s newspaper column on politics and social issues, My Day, was read daily by millions.
Author, researcher, and entrepreneur, Dr. Emoto’s passion was teaching his “Messages in Water.” He trained over 350 instructors from around the world to teach new generations about the truth and sacredness of water as he outlined in his book, Hidden Messages from Water and the Universe.
His followers and those he mentored believe their lives were changed personally and collectively by his pioneering research which they believe resulted in a wave of transformation, awakening and shift in collective consciousness around the planet.
Those he mentored believe he gave them a greater sense of themselves and an ability to create positive change by shifting their thoughts, words, emotions and intentions. Louise Hay said his work “gave me a new respect for water. I began blessing with love every glass of water I drank. Labels with positive words and affirmations soon appeared on my faucets, showerhead, garden watering cans, the toilets, every other water source I had, and all the many bottles of water I carried everywhere.”
His last words were “Arigatou”. (“Thank you” in Japanese), which in Japanese means to be grateful for our own existence.