Glenn Wing
Glenn Wing

While in the Navy during Vietnam, I experienced an epiphany that altered the direction of my life; it probably even saved my life. I realized during that momentary flash of truth that I was in charge of my own destiny. Over the next few days, I decided that Socrates’ motto, “Know thyself” would become the maxim I wanted to live by. Along the way, I realized that working therapeutically with teenagers and adults would be my path to my own individuation.

My first position after the military was that of a caseworker in Springfield, MA working with hardcore inner city kids, who lived on some mean streets. They taught me the valuable lessons of perseverance, love, jail time, courage, failure, tenacity, how anger destroys, carpe diem, death, and living. There was one kid named Charlie who taught me a priceless lesson about self-worth. Several years after leaving the agency, Charlie and I crossed paths, and he thanked me for not giving up on him when he thought he was destined for a life of crime. He pointed out how I had impressed upon him that his personal value was an internal knowing that no one could take away. Though most of the 1980s and all of the 1990s, I worked with at-risk teenagers and young adults honing skills that are thoroughly internalized.

My graduate thesis was on self-concept and self-actualization. Charlie and other teens had piqued my interest in why some people succeed and others fail miserably. I now know that self-efficacy and emotional and spiritual intelligence are key to personal and professional growth and success. Any individual who seeks to make his or her way in the world has to have a constructive sense of self-worth, a value that transcends the vicissitudes of daily life.

September 19, 2006 became another turning point that altered the very essence of who I am. I had contracted Guillain Barre Syndrome and nearly died twice during the 21 days I spent in ICU at Baptist Hospital in Winston Salem. I realized there how precious life is and that the greatest contribution anyone can make on this planet is to assist all of humanity toward happiness and fulfillment.

Most recently, I was the executive director for a challenge course providing therapeutic and educational opportunities for at-risk youth in a school setting and businesses and corporations. Currently, I volunteer at the Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute at Lees-McRae College building and creating whatever is needed to keep the facility running smoothly. Returning to grad school and pursuing an MA in counseling and therapeutic interventions is a long-held dream. I would also like to return to the land of challenge courses and continue to provide the life-changing experiences that can occur there.

The people of the Ubuntu tribe of central Africa have a quote that permeates their very existence: “I am who I am because we are who we are.” Each of us is a product of our parents, the environment, internalized beliefs, and our attitude. Who I am, as well as who I seek to become, is inevitably woven through all of my relations.

I enjoy the outdoors, cooking, a good challenge, a form of mindfulness meditation called vipassana meditation, classical music, deep conversation, canoeing, kayaking, gardening, and good friends.