An Extended Introduction on My Grandfather’s Blog Entry

I’ve talked about my grandfather quite a bit on this blog (most notably in the articles What Does Dying Feel Like? and Memento Nasci). Those articles are better introductions than the one I’m giving now, but I wanted to elaborate on the purpose of my grandfather’s guest post and mention a few of my lingering thoughts.

Robert Blair

A little more about my grandfather:

Dr. Robert W. Blair has been called the Indiana Jones of linguistics. His pioneering work with the Mayan language opened the field for modern linguists. As a prolific world traveler, he visited dozens of countries.

While he insists that he achieved fluency in only a few languages, his friends and family know him to be conversationally capable in well more than 20 languages. Much of his 60+-year career has been spent studying and developing language learning techniques that improve speed of acquisition, quality of learning, and overall retention.

Why ask my grandpa to do a guest post? Because I want to see how people respond. I want to see if this format works well for sharing my grandfather’s knowledge. In short, I want to see if it’s worth starting a blog on language learning with my grandfather.

Three reasons serve as the supporting columns of this project.

First, I believe that meaningful work is vital to continued life satisfaction. Studies show that a sense of meaning, responsibility, and autonomy improve health care outcomes to a surprisingly powerful degree. You can make arguments for why this is the case, but I think the root of these improved health outcomes is simple: It’s easier to stay healthy if we feel that health allows us to live a good and purpose-filled life.

Second, I believe that my grandfather’s knowledge is rich and deep. Letting it stagnate would be a shame; letting it be lost would be a crime. While portions of it are already being used for other projects, many of those projects are unlikely to come into fruition before my grandfather’s time is up. A blog gives the speed and flexibility that would allow him to share his knowledge broadly and deeply with the time and energy he has left to him.

And third, I believe the project would allow my grandfather to use his mind and knowledge in ways that keep his brain in the sort of active use that prevent it from succumbing to the listlessness and gradual atrophy of age.

Just as important, though, I believe the project has great potential. I think many people would benefit from my grandfather’s knowledge. I think he would benefit. I think I would benefit, if only because it gives me an excuse to spend more time with him. More, though, I don’t think this would simply be a blog that goes online and is quickly forgotten. The knowledge my grandfather collected over his decades of work serve as a treasure trove that’s worth defending but, more importantly, worth sharing.

Getting a sense of the potential traction and success of this blog post is an important first step in evaluating the project overall. As such, in looking at the entry, I hope you’ll take the time to pass it along to friends, relatives, or other members of your network who you feel would be interested.

And to all those who support my grandfather and his work … thank you.


Read my grandpa’s guest post on Ballpark Mnemonics:
a tool to quickly learn foreign phrases.