Anchored by the Classic Learning Test

The Posture of Curiosity | Michael Wildschut

May 09, 2024 Classic Learning Test
The Posture of Curiosity | Michael Wildschut
Anchored by the Classic Learning Test
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Anchored by the Classic Learning Test
The Posture of Curiosity | Michael Wildschut
May 09, 2024
Classic Learning Test

On this episode of Anchored, Soren is joined by Michael Wildschut, Director of The January Series put on annually by Calvin University. The two discuss the value of both a gap year and a geography major, despite our modern culture’s tendency to disparage both. They also dive into The January Series itself along with the breadth of subjects and questions the lectures and lecturers examine. They explore the possibility of cultivating curiosity and its role in preserving a unified culture where learning is valued.

Show Notes Transcript

On this episode of Anchored, Soren is joined by Michael Wildschut, Director of The January Series put on annually by Calvin University. The two discuss the value of both a gap year and a geography major, despite our modern culture’s tendency to disparage both. They also dive into The January Series itself along with the breadth of subjects and questions the lectures and lecturers examine. They explore the possibility of cultivating curiosity and its role in preserving a unified culture where learning is valued.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (00:01.353)
Welcome back to the Anchored Podcast, the official podcast of the Classic Learning Test. My name is Soren Schwab, VP of Partnerships here at CLT, and today we are joined by Michael Wilskud. Michael is the director of the January Series, a 38-year-old lecture series held at Calvin University. Michael is the third director of the series, with the 2023 series being his first, and 2024 series just being completed. Michael graduated with a BA in Geography,

from Calvin College, now Calvin University. After living in Colorado and working for National Geographic Maps, he moved to Grand Rapids with his family and has worked at Calvin since then, both in the events and alumni office on campus. In his spare time, he loves working with students and spending time on the trails. And I'm delighted to have him on the show today. Michael, welcome.

michael wildschut (00:50.532)
Thanks so much for having me. I'm really looking forward to this

Soren Schwab (CLT) (00:53.681)
Yeah, and as we always do, we start the Anchored podcast by talking about our guests' own educational background. So talk to us a little bit about your kind of K-12 journey and beyond. What kind of schools did you attend? Where did you grow up? So, we're going to start with the first one, which is the K-12 podcast.

michael wildschut (01:05.95)
Yeah. So I grew up in Ontario, Canada. And so I was the child of immigrants. My grandparents, both sets of grandparents came across on the boat. And so education was something that was very important to my family because it was something we could achieve that others in our family hadn't had that chance to achieve. And so I grew up attending Christian day schools, both

K through eight and then nine through 12. Both schools were quite small, which added a real intimacy to the learning environment and that we knew the teachers, we knew our classmates. My wife laughs often hearing how small my graduating class was, but I think it really worked well for the environment that I was in and the opportunity to learn. Following...

school, I took a year off a gap year because I wasn't really sure where direction I wanted to go, but I promised my parents that I was going to go on. And so it was actually a really healthy year to re-evaluate and to take some time. And then I was fortunate through a variety of different events to land at Calvin College at the time, Calvin University now. And it's been a pivotal spot in my journey since then.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (02:25.737)
Well, clearly you've come back since. And so Calvin has a special place in your heart. I'm actually glad to hear, you know, growing up in Germany, a lot of students, young adults take gap years. It's actually fairly normal to either travel or just get some work in or, and I feel like in the US, it's sometimes still frowned upon, I guess, if you don't immediately go to college, but then we're sending, you know, sometimes.

michael wildschut (02:30.326)

Soren Schwab (CLT) (02:53.825)
17 year olds immediately to college and you know kind of the four more formative years. So what did you do during your gap year? Was it kind of with purpose or was it just one of those we'll kind of see where the Lord leads me.

michael wildschut (03:07.21)
So primarily, it was a bit of both, right? It was a bit of purpose, right? And I needed to make some money, I needed to work, right? I wasn't allowed, or I wasn't raised in a home, right? Where work was an expectation, right? And so it was something I did. If I wanted something, I had to figure out a way to make it work. And so I was, you know, walking around the neighborhood and offering to pull weeds in neighbor's yards from an early age. And so,

I used a lot of that time to work. And at that age, you have lots of energy and lots of time. And in that transitional year, it also allowed me to have more, I could focus a lot on work because friends had left and we're all in that transition stage there as well too. But I also used it to really start to evaluate what did I want the future to look like and what did I imagine. I think because growing up as a first generation, we call them first generation students now.

We didn't have that language then, but a lot of it was on me and just asking questions because my parents didn't always know what to think about or what to ask or how to be involved in those ways to support us. And so they supported us in lots of other ways, but we were kind of navigating fresh territory as well. And so kind of used that time as well to think, okay, where...

Do I think God is leading me? Where do I wanna go? Where do I think I can make an impact? And how do I use the gifts and talents that he's giving me? And imagine what could be possible.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (04:43.569)
Yeah, yeah. Well, you end up at Calvin College in beautiful Grand Rapids, where you're recording from today. And I personally am fascinated by geography, topography. It was one of my favorite subjects in school. And when I moved to the US, I realized that, oh, that's not really the norm here. Geography as a field of study, many K-12 schools have...

have dropped or kind of has been consumed by, or what is it, social studies or what they call them. And a lot of colleges don't really offer it as a major anymore. So you of course majored in it and then also went on and worked in the field. What has been your fascination with geography? Kind of what instilled in you that fascination? And also just from a kind of...

make the case almost like an apology of why should we still study geography?

michael wildschut (05:39.647)

Yeah, so geography as a subject in high school for me was always something I enjoyed greatly. And so, but I didn't always realize it at the time because it was just a normal part of the educational environment. And so it was something that maybe came a little bit easier to me. I enjoyed it, but I didn't always realize like you that it wasn't a common subject matter outside of where I grew up. So when I came to Calvin,

I kind of initially wasn't really sure where I was going to land and what I wanted to do. And I didn't have at that time a vision for where I needed to end up or how I needed to get to that spot. And so through lots of prayer and conversation and also wonderful conversations with faculty, I was led to really think that geography was where I wanted to graduate with, but also clear that I didn't know.

fully what the path was forward after that. But for me, geography was this wonderful combination of soft sciences and hard sciences and learning about the landscape and understanding the rocks and the topography. I love being outside, so that is just something really, something I just enjoy greatly. But also this combination of understanding the people and the environment and how that interacts together. And so, to study oceanography and urban geography and all of these things that

Like I love the people aspect of it too. And so I love the rocks and I love looking at maps and thinking about how those hikes are and understanding that. But also people have a huge impact into those things too. And so it's this wonderful for me, this combination of the two things. I've been asked a lot, I don't get asked it as much now, but certainly, what are you gonna do with a geography major, right? And-

michael wildschut (07:39.466)
I think that's the beauty of a liberal arts education is that you get the tools and the pieces to play with lots of different areas. And so, you know, I ended up after graduating, I worked in retail for a little while, but that geography never left. And so then I saw opportunities to work for National Geographic. And so I went down that channel. And so it gave me the skillset, this kind of this broad degree to...

dip my toes in lots of different things and be able to do well in those things. So when I worked for National Geographic Maps, I was able to do software support for them, which was a wonderful thing to do. But it was also, you know, I could combine my comfort with technology with also my comfort with maps. And so those languages kind of cross over. And so I think it just highlights the richness of what a liberal arts education can do. And what I talk about with my students too is helping them see the broader vision that

You might not end up where you went with your degree, and it's setting a foundation, and you never always know where that's gonna go.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (08:41.237)

that that's exactly that's okay. And of course, we're going to talk a little bit here later on about instilling curiosity and just a joy for knowledge for learning in and of itself, even if there's not immediately a quote unquote, practical application to everything, right. Which is a perfect transition to, I think, probably why you got involved with what's called the January series at Calvin University.

michael wildschut (08:57.77)
Yeah. Yep.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (09:11.509)
Tell us just kind of the big picture of you. What is the January series? And then when did you first hear about it? I assume it was at Calvin, but I don't wanna assume too much.

michael wildschut (09:19.894)
Yeah, no, great question. So the January series is, as you talked about in your intro is a 38 year old free lecture series available to the community. And it started out small, just mostly for faculty and staff and students. And it was initially scheduled during the day when we were kind of between classes. And so we had this Calvin for many years had an interim or a J term as some describe it.

And so you could take a class in the morning or you could take a class in the afternoon and it could be related to your major or totally separate. But in that middle time between the classes, there was this January series, this free lecture series. And over the years, it kept bringing bigger and bigger names to campus. And so early on, if you wanted to listen, you had to go there and you had to be there in person and you got to...

sit in the auditorium and listen to these amazing people who talked about all sorts of different things. So I was exposed initially as a student and certainly attended, but I think as most students might say, I didn't always take advantage of it as much as I wish I did, looking back on it, but I knew it was there. And so when I came back as an employee, I was involved with it every year in different ways. And so I always...

Soren Schwab (CLT) (10:28.692)

michael wildschut (10:40.174)
kind of created a list of people I thought would be interesting on the series. And I, it was more of a personal thing, but I'm like, oh, that's an interesting idea. Or this could be, could work well here. And so over time I got to meet the second director of the series, Christie Potter, we became good friends. I helped with some suggestions of speakers and I would help drive people and pick them up from the airport or drop them off or just assist in different ways. Because

there's lots of different touch points throughout the day. And we do it 15 days in a row or for three weeks in a row. And so there's, it's constantly, right? You're, one person's coming in and one person is leaving. And you're, so I helped in lots of different ways and got to really love the series for what it was. And so when the opportunity came up to lead it, I was thrilled that I was being considered and having a rich desire for curiosity and

Also understanding the community that we're a part of was really a valuable tool for me because understanding its rich heritage, but then also being able to curious and reimagine maybe what the new future of the series is. Because as the series has grown, it started just in person, and then we built up to remote sites around the country. And now in a post-COVID world, you can watch it from anywhere. And so we're reaching globally people all over the world now.

you know, a vision for what we can do with this tool and how it can enrich communities and people is a really exciting thing to be a part of.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (12:12.673)
Wow, and so the January series, you said 15 lectures on 15 days, Monday through Friday. So there's for three weeks, there is a talk every, I mean, it's logistically challenging enough to bring one person in, but you're having 15 every single day, one every single day.

michael wildschut (12:26.079)
every day.

michael wildschut (12:32.55)
Yeah, we, um, I was just running some numbers and I'm glad I didn't think of this earlier when I was involved in it, but we did, I think this past January, we did 63 events or different touch points, some bigger, some smaller over those 15 days, right? And so, um, each speaker that we bring in generally has four touch points in different ways. Um, and so, and then we do extra things on top of that. And so it's, um, it is, uh,

it's a lot of work for those weeks, right? But the goal, like my job is right, is I'm already planning for 2025. And so we're building the foundation. And so we keep putting all the pieces together. And then we and a bunch of wonderful teammates and colleagues on campus help implement it. And so while I'm the face of it, right, I have lots of people who are involved in different pieces. And so it is certainly a community engagement tool that we use to enrich.

lots of different people and elevate the institution and elevate great ideas as well.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (13:37.665)
Give the audience a little bit of a taste of kind of the range of speakers. Kareem, I think, you know Calvin, it's a small Christian college. There's probably a lot of maybe lectures about theology or the Bible, but it's more than that, right? I mean, it really encompasses all subjects.

michael wildschut (13:54.014)
Yeah, one of the challenges, right, sometimes is explaining its breadth of reach because it covers so much. So, you know, this year we did everything from, we started on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and so we had our first talk was on Dr. King and then we jumped into Bach and Natural Machines and so we had this wonderful musician who is an amazing pianist but he also loves

technology. And so, and using AI and different tools, he's reimagining pieces that Bach wrote in his own way. And combining this something, you know, sometimes we talk about this old thing as in, you know, classical music and these new things, and what does that develop and what does he create with that? You know, we're talking about religious liberty, and so we go really deep sometimes. We also talk about soul food and we...

We talked about poverty, in America specifically. We talked about how to build community around the table, right? Where we need to be reminded and we need to keep working at building community with each other, right? And one of the great ways that we have is around the table. And so how do we remind ourselves and how do we think about the table as a place to understand each other better and care for each other better?

We talked about the lost art of dying. It was one of my favorite talks this year, how death has changed over time and how we can live our life better by understanding and talking about it. So it's this rich, sometimes it feels like whiplash because we're all over the place, but that speaks to the diversity of ideas and that helps people because it's not just one area. And so if you don't have an interest in that, you can write the series off.

if you're not interested in one day, you might be really interested in the next day. I've heard from multiple people who said, I was planning on watching five or six of them, but I ended up watching all 15 because I discovered new things about it and they were more interesting than I imagined. We're creating this culture environment where learning is thriving and people are discovering new things.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (16:01.706)

michael wildschut (16:11.902)
It doesn't mean they agree with everything and not all the speakers have a Christian background, but they're all people we can learn a little bit from and the richer we, you know, the more we learn about ourselves and in each other, the better our communities can be. And so, you know, I have a better understanding about poverty now because of Matthew Desmond. And so that will change how I view my community. And maybe it impacts, I can impact it in better ways now because I have that richer understanding.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (16:33.045)

Soren Schwab (CLT) (16:41.905)
Yeah, I think that's what struck me the most and really intrigued me the most when I looked at even past series, not just the range of topics, right, but also the range of diverse ideas. And yes, like you said, it doesn't mean that maybe everyone agrees with everything, but that's kind of the point, right. I mean, it's kind of the point of going to university to begin with, right, is to be uncomfortable in really refining your thoughts and your ideas.

michael wildschut (17:00.918)
Yeah, hopefully. Yep.


Soren Schwab (CLT) (17:11.517)
But it's also kind of a lost art these days, it seems like, right? So how is that part of your vision, right, to, in a way, in this kind of divided, polarizing cultural moment that we have, offering almost like a panacea to that?

michael wildschut (17:15.351)

michael wildschut (17:27.946)
Yeah, you know, one of my favorite things of this series is when I leave the venue and I see people talking in the hallway about what they just heard, right? And they're processing together and they're sharing like, oh, I like that, or I heard this way. And that richness that comes from doing this, right? Certainly in community is always the strongest place to do it in, but, you know, it gives people, it makes it accessible. And so, you know,

I'm looking, certainly some of our conversations and some of the talks are more academic and more heady. And there are some talks for myself personally where I like, wow, that went over my head. But then I'll talk to someone else and they'll be like, that was amazing. I understood everything. And it's this reminder to me that we're all at different spots. And so, you know, that is it's not it's for the whole community and we're all going to pull something different out of it. And so, you know, the more we can keep

finding these things to share with each other and enrich our communities and share diverse ideas and then also provide places that we can do this well and support, find new ways to keep those conversations going is also important too, because it's easy to lob something out there and then just kind of let it go. But how do we keep some of those conversations going? Not that we determine what the outcome will be, but that people feel like

the tools and the ideas to keep those discussions going in their communities or with their friend group. Lots of people will watch it and then like, I want my friends to watch that and so they'll send it to their friends. And so as we now make it available online, which is wonderful, we also have to think creatively about how do we embed that online community with a little bit of the richness of it that we know comes with in-person too. And so wonderful challenges to think about.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (19:05.345)

Soren Schwab (CLT) (19:22.477)
Yeah, yeah. Well, my brain is kind of going in a million directions. So bear with me here. But you mentioned a few things that resonated. So you talked about kind of curiosity earlier, right? You talked about you didn't use the word lifelong learning, but in a way you said, you know, like carrying on the conversation beyond. And as you're as you're mentioning some of these different talks that

michael wildschut (19:43.451)

Soren Schwab (CLT) (19:49.289)
Maybe just by looking at the title, I wouldn't have necessarily been quote-unquote curious about or curious to learn more But by being immersed in it, maybe now all of a sudden, oh my god, I am much more curious. So I guess maybe the question I'm asking is like, how do we become curious about something if we have no understanding of the thing? Like can we even be curious about it? And how does the January series maybe help with this creation of lifelong learning because it makes us more curious maybe?

michael wildschut (20:07.02)

michael wildschut (20:18.654)
Yeah, I think it's a really important question you're asking because you, it requires a posture, right? And it requires a, an approach to say, I'm gonna, I'm gonna put myself in this position and I might not understand it, but I'm willing to stretch myself a little bit. And so one of the things I like to share is, is as I talk about this series is the benefits that come from participating because

when we talk about what the benefits are, I think it can help us push through sometimes the harder ones or the more difficult ones or help us to stick through it. I work in an educational environment and so I'm exposed to this all the time. It's in the water I drink all day long. But I also know that's not the case for a lot of other people. And so we need to make these ideas

Soren Schwab (CLT) (20:55.695)
Thank you.

michael wildschut (21:18.718)
you know, um, but make them so that people can, can tackle them and make that, you know, and watching online now too is nice cause you can stop it or you can watch it slower or you can put closed captionings on it or you can watch it for a little bit and then come back to it. But the, the more we kind of tackle these and, in small chunks at different times, the more comfortable we get in these spaces and the more comfortable we get to continue these things. And, and it's like, you know,

Soren Schwab (CLT) (21:28.117)
for him.

michael wildschut (21:49.562)
If we were only to educate people for the four years that they're here, we're missing out on something. So we want to create students who become lifelong alumni, who are consistently curious about what they're discovering. Because the seeds that we're planting in these four years, it's only four years of their life, sometimes five.

you know, but the growth happens outside of that space. And so how do we provide ways for them to keep seeing that learning is something they can do and that they're gonna enjoy doing and that they're gonna become better people because of it. But it does take a posture that you have to say, I'm gonna approach this or I'm gonna listen to something. And, you know, sometimes with it being online, you can also turn it off a little sooner, right? If you're not enjoying it. But...

Soren Schwab (CLT) (22:18.823)
Thank you.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (22:40.313)

michael wildschut (22:41.65)
I hope by the diversity of things that we do and the ease of accessing it, we can provide just keep watering those seeds that have been planted before. You never know where those ideas will go. Then hopefully that gets our audience on thinking about other things or discovering new people. Our speakers will reference another speaker and maybe that opens the door for something else.

I hope a snowball that keeps getting a little bit bigger every year, but it requires a posture from our audience to say, I'm interested in wanting to keep learning. And, um, but that takes time. And that's not, um, you know, we have to keep finding ways to make that be a posture where it's approachable for people.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (23:29.842)
Gosh, I can't even imagine after the series how many new book recommendations I'd probably have. It can probably be a little overwhelming at times.

michael wildschut (23:34.743)

michael wildschut (23:38.358)
You know, 15 days sometimes feels like an eternity and other days it's like, I can't get enough. There's too many good ideas out there. I don't, how do I say no to these good ideas?

Soren Schwab (CLT) (23:49.738)
I have about a year now to catch up before the next series. So you mentioned the online access and bringing it to a wider audience before that happened. I assume it was kind of for the greater Grand Rapids area and maybe people came from Ohio. I don't know. But when it comes to target audience and people that you're reaching, do you have some, whether it's statistics or just anecdotally?

michael wildschut (23:52.514)

Soren Schwab (CLT) (24:17.301)
who is kind of the typical listener or is that just a wide range of individuals?

michael wildschut (24:21.922)
So, you know, our series right now is shown at 1230 p.m. on Monday through Friday. And the number of people who are available at 1230 p.m. in the middle of the day is not great, right? It's generally retired people, or people who are later in their career have more flexibility, or people who kind of playing around it. And we get a lot of regular attenders who come every day, but they're generally retired people. A lot of our

our biggest traction is in our audience is 40 plus, because those are people who are, you know, maybe have a little bit more capacity and they're kind of like, I wanna kind of dip my toes back into some of these things again. And frankly, it's getting harder to connect with students. I brought in a speaker this year specifically to pull in students and they had a great experience with that and they loved it. And-

But I'm appealing to a really broad demographic. And so I'm reaching homeschool families and I'm reaching 90 year old audience members. And so we're trying to always kind of find a nice mix of people. And we're also looking for a diversity of speakers too, who can share their experiences from different perspectives as well too. So our audience can see themselves hopefully on this day, especially our students.

they can see themselves that, hey, I could be a speaker in the future. I, you know, this is something that, you know, there are people there up there like me. Um, and so it, it's, uh, you know, it's certainly people have a little bit more capacity in free time are the ones who, who generally will participate the most. But, you know, I, if I can get a student to watch one of them, that's great because that's one person I was able to hopefully have a great experience with. And maybe next year they can watch two or

Soren Schwab (CLT) (25:46.909)

Soren Schwab (CLT) (26:07.881)

michael wildschut (26:14.406)
And maybe when they're a little bit older, they can watch more. And you don't, I want them all to feel a part of it. And even if it's just one, that's great. I want them to feel like it's for them. And if they want more, that's okay too.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (26:31.309)
Yeah, I mean, you mentioned a lot of our listeners on the Anchored Podcast are homeschool teachers, homeschool students, right? I mean, that seems like a, you know, planning around that and being able to maybe watch a couple of the lectures with your student. I mean, that seems like a great opportunity to broaden their minds.

michael wildschut (26:35.758)

michael wildschut (26:50.602)
We, one of my student employees this year was homeschooled and her family came to almost every day of the talks because they knew to plan for it. They incorporated into their learning and they used it as something fun to do in January because in January, to be fair, Michigan is not the most ideal place at times, but we offer this and so it's accessible content

Soren Schwab (CLT) (27:11.802)
Oh boy, it's not. No.

michael wildschut (27:20.818)
certainly these families write something else to discover and have good conversations because they can learn about it and watch it at noon and they can talk about it afterwards and they can discover how does this apply to what we're talking about in these other areas. And so it's just a rich, West Michigan has a really strong homeschooling community and I'm thankful that we were a part of it for a couple years and it's wonderful that we get to enrich that.

that part of the community as well too, in addition to our older retirees and our Calvin students as well.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (27:54.093)
Right. Fantastic. So we've talked about it a lot. Obviously, you mentioned the recordings. So for those of us, probably all of us listening to this podcast right now that want to learn more, that want to watch this January series and stay up to date on the next, because I'm sure over the next few months. I guess that's maybe a quick question I want to ask. Do the guests for next year's series, do they get like

staggered like announcements or is it like a one day where all them get announced or should we stay up to date on updates on who's going to speak?

michael wildschut (28:29.087)
So our website, forward slash January is, you know, kind of our repository of all of all of our good things. We generally announce our lineup of speakers for January in the fall, and we'll publish that and then we'll start doing some big heavy promotion on that as well. And what we like to do.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (28:37.017)
Good luck.

michael wildschut (28:50.686)
is announce all of them at once. And we're like, hey, here's the big package that we're really excited about, and these are what they're talking about. But we're also creating new content, and we started a July series, and so we're making new content in different ways to reach different audiences. And in the summer in Michigan, which is a spectacular time to be here, a lot of people are traveling, or they're at their cottage, or they're at the beach. And so we provide content.

but it's easily accessible and it's just online only. They can watch it when they want. It's available all summer. And it also gives us chances to highlight and uplift emerging speakers and content that maybe works better in different formats. And so we have all of that listed on our website and there we list the 2024 speakers who just finished and some of their videos are still available. And so you can watch them still and participate. And then...

Soren Schwab (CLT) (29:29.417)

michael wildschut (29:46.678)
We have a really deep repository on YouTube of all of our past speakers as well, too. We don't keep all of them because of contracts and agreements, but we have a really rich resource on YouTube where there's all sorts of different content that we've shared over the years. And it's interesting watching some of it because you're like, Ooh, that's a little bit more dated now because that was 10 years old and things have changed. We didn't know that at the time. But you know, there's some rich things there too, that you can still participate and learn. And so it's nice because then that.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (30:06.858)

michael wildschut (30:15.638)
that resource on YouTube stays there. And so you could be like, hey, we're gonna talk about this in our studies. I'm gonna incorporate that then at that time. And I have that flexibility. So we're moving the 2024 speakers over to YouTube shortly, but we still have a fair number available that people can check out. One of them is, you know, Felicia Wu songs. And she talks about Christian formation in a digital world, right? How do Christians engage with their devices and think about...

that digital space. And that's, we had a really fascinating talk on neurodivergent storytelling and a late diagnosed autistic professor of English and he writes poetry and sharing some of his experience there. And that was just a fact. He was super authentic. And that's available there. We did a poetry recording of a podcast poetry for all and that you can watch.

the hosts of Poetry for All podcast, interview poet Marilyn Nelson and talk about her poetry. They start off with a reading of her poetry and then they talk about it and they expand on it and then they read it again. And so that video is also available. And so if you're doing English or you're interested in poetry with your class or something, you can show that through too, at least through the end of the month. So lots of resources available and we'd love for people to follow us because we'll be.

keep announcing and keep sharing good content that we're producing.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (31:47.041)
Yeah, absolutely incredible. I mean, I am sure that as the director, there's a lot of pressure, there's a lot of stress, there's a lot of sleepless nights, there's so much of the logistics, but also just listening to you and how you light up talking about all this and just the excitement about all the different content, it's contagious. So I encourage our listeners to check it out and learn more.

michael wildschut (32:04.686)
Yeah, thank you. This is a wonderful extension of our classroom. And and I love it when you know, I hear from faculty who say, Yeah, we use that book in our class. And then those students get to come and meet that author. And it's just this wonderful extension that keep providing, you know, a rich understanding of this wonderful world that we live in, and how do we keep understanding it better and that we can make this available all over?

is a real, real treat. I'm just really thankful I get to give it away.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (32:38.005)
Fantastic. Well, we have, of course, one more question, as we always do in the Anchored Podcast. We end with this one. Is there one book, Michael, or one text that you can point to that has really most impacted your life and why?

michael wildschut (32:52.258)
I think, right, like, I have to do a lot of reading and listening. And so I, there's a lot of choice out there and a lot of things that have impacted me positively. The one that has struck with me the most lately is The Lost Art of Dying by Lydia Dugdale. And she was a speaker on our series and I keep thinking about this book and I keep talking about it with other people. And the premise of the book is...

our exposure to death prior to the Industrial Revolution was very different. And we didn't live as long when people were dying, they died generally in the home. We saw death a lot more. And as a result, the community and the environment and the conversations were very different about death because it was a much more common occurrence. And since the Industrial Revolution, we've been far more separated from death. And...

And I've been right, like the truth of it is we all will die. And how do we think about that? And how do we learn to live well and to, it doesn't make it any easier, but, um, it's really struck with me. There's been a couple deaths in our community lately that have, you know, um, and they sting and, but also knowing that death is not the final piece in the whole thing is, is a real comfort too.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (34:17.458)
Thank you.

michael wildschut (34:19.286)
So Lydia Dugdale's The Lost Art of Dying has been one that has just been sitting with me for a while. And I don't know where it will go and how I will process it in the future, but it's something that really struck me. And just, she's a medical doctor, but also a medical ethicist and just a really, a rich conversation about something that we're all gonna go through. And it has changed for me.

how I think about what the future might hold and how I wanna make sure that I might make every one of these days count a little bit more.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (34:52.035)

Soren Schwab (CLT) (34:57.365)
Thank you for sharing that. Again, we're here with Michael Willscutt, who is the director of the January Series at Calvin University. Michael, thank you so much for joining us today and thank you for all the wonderful work you're doing with the January Series.

michael wildschut (35:11.094)
Thank you so much for letting me share the story and letting me help give away this wonderful gift.

Soren Schwab (CLT) (35:21.353)