I am grateful for all the people who have presented life-changing concepts to me (particularly the ones that were offered for the taking, but never forced upon me). One such major influence was Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser of Attitude Concepts for Today. It must have been the summer of 1988, when my then fellow Band Director and now life-long buddy, Billy Menefee asked me to come with him to a talk. I wasn’t prepared for what I heard and how it would immediately change the direction in my life. Dr. Tim, as he is so affectionately called, is a nationally renowned motivational speaker. He has given talks at most major corporations and has deeply moved tens of thousands of people. But his deep-seated passion is speaking with high school music students and their teachers. He shows them how their actions and attitudes can shape their futures and those around them through strong, thoughtful leadership. It feels like only yesterday that I heard him taking the funny approach to get to the real heart of the matters (stuff like “you have to eliminate stress because it causes gas!” or “it takes twice as many muscles to frown as it does to smile”. While it was a newish concept back then, I even remember him talking about eating healthily and about how food additives effected your life and its outcome. Everything always came back to seeing the big picture. Even now, I can almost feel the exhilaration of leaving his session that day a changed person. I know that I immediately implemented what I learned into my teaching and can say with confidence that his concepts still live in me today. For years after that day, even with his amazingly busy schedule, we would correspond (which was a constant source of amazement and inspiration in-itself). Eventually (and maybe with my slowly gaining confidence) we stopped writing each other, but I hope maybe this note finds its way to him – my little public proclamation, a love letter of gratitude, for sharing his passion, and indeed, his heart with me.