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Father William is a Pilgrim

(AREN'T we all?)

`You are old, Father William,' the young man said
`And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head--
Do you think, at your age, it is right?'


`In my youth,' Father William replied to his son,
`I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.'


`You are old,' said the youth, `as I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door--
Pray, what is the reason of that?'


`In my youth,' said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
`I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment--one shilling the box--
Allow me to sell you a couple?'


`You are old,' said the youth, `and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak--
Pray how did you manage to do it?'


`In my youth,' said his father, `I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life.'


`You are old,' said the youth, `one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose--
What made you so awfully clever?'


 `I have answered three questions, and that is enough,'
Said his father; `don't give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I'll kick you down stairs!'

As his five children will tell you, Kristofferson's song, Pilgrim is not a bad description of their flesh-and-blood Father William.  Neither is Lewis Carroll's poem (left) which is where this site's name comes from.

Father William's real name is William Idol.  He was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1938.  As a young man he sold insurance, managed a garage, taught high school, coached football and golf, ran a training center for drug counselors, administered a university residential area, served as a faculty development specialist and loaded freight cars in the St. Louis summer.  He was awarded a Ford Fellowship to study leadership in 1969.  He used this support to apprentice with many of the early pioneers in humanistic and creative psychologies.  He taught at the University of Massachusetts , John F. Kennedy University and The Evergreen State College.  From 1976 until 2002 he was a consultant to major corporations.  Now he's enjoying his own Third Age journey and helping others chart theirs.

He's had his share of messy journeys, and he has learnings from those journeys he wants to share with others.  This is why he created Father William's Place.

His insights are filled with humor, experience and compassion, and he offers these by telling stories about how beautiful and bizarre his own life has been.  He takes the world (and especially himself) lightly so his stories are both funny and profound.

Father William is in his Third Age and, as Joseph Campbell advised, he's "Following His Bliss," and for him this means letting the learnings he's been given flow through him to others.  Why?  Because, when he's sharing his experience, he's transported into a state of creative ecstasy.  He says bliss just doesn't get any better than that for him (he's even been known to say it's as good as sex!).

He's also learned to be painfully aware of the danger of ego inflation that can come with taking on such a role.  This is why he took the name Father William.  It's a perspective that reminds him who he really is...



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