Howard Bennion is a cute elderly man in our ward that my kids probably don't remember. He's 84 years old and Brent and I get a big kick out of his obsession with Apple products. As a former engineer, Howard's retirement hobby seems to be technology; he's adept on his computer, has the latest iphone, tons of apps (and unlike me he actually uses them), and emails his grandkids. The only thing Howard doesn't do is text message.
We gave Howard a ride to the Oakland Temple on Saturday and he kept us entertained up and back. I knew Howard was related to our Apostle and member of the First Presidency, Henry B. Eyring, so I asked him about that connection. It turns out that President Eyring (who Howard calls Hal) is his cousin which makes Howard's uncle the famous scientist who taught at Princeton, Henry Eyring.
Henry Eyring (the father of Apostle Eyring) was a brilliant chemist who is renowned for his studies of chemical reaction rates. Many expected him to win a Nobel prize.
When Howard reminisced about his Uncle Henry the first thing he noted was the interest his uncle had for all of the kids in the extended family (reread opening quote here). I found this touching, and beyond that, I think there is a great lesson here.
Professor Henry Eyring's interest in other people, his curiosity to learn all about others is a quality I notice in so many people I admire. It's an attribute that really impresses me!
It's particularly interesting relative to Professor Eyring because often people in science professions get a bad rap for aloofness or maybe they just aren't usually noted for their people skills. Clearly this was not the case with Henry Eyring since his nephew vividly recalls Professor Eyring's inquisitions and desire to know all about his nieces and nephews.
"Taking an interest in what others are thinking and doing is often a much more powerful form of encouragement than praise." -Robert Martin