Peter Kline, Mr. Inspiration

By Roger Stark

When I learned of the passing of my friend and mentor, Peter Kline, a flood of memories came back.  Peter was a man who lived what he believed.  He was true to his spirit, true to his soul, true to his intellect, and true to his presence.

Peter believed that we need to show up, be held accountable, and be counted.  He always demanded that of himself, and he demanded it of me.

He had confidence in our effort to bring our cognitive training program to reality. He never faltered. If ever I became doubtful (and there were many such times), Peter was my anchor and my engine. He used to say, “Never stop, never give up, and never give in.”  He reminded me that the effort was worth it because of the impact it would have on countless lives.

I think of the many late-night conversations we had and remember one especially, where he told me, “You think you chose this direction. You did not! It chose you!”

When I told him of the challenges and sometimes outright opposition we faced, or when I worried about my own capacity to lead the effort – after all, I was not a great educator or a great scientist – Peter would respond, “You were not chosen because you are a great educator nor because you are a great scientist; you were chosen because it is your destiny.  You have all of the prerequisite skills to build this effort to last for all to benefit.”

I will forever love and respect Peter and appreciate his unyielding support. We have now built the world’s most researched comprehensive integrated cognitive skills development program, delivered online, in the world.  Neuroscience and cognitive research continue to evolve in ways that make it clear how important cognitive skills are (accounting for 42 percent of the variance in academic performance), how integrated these processes are in our brains, and how they serve as the foundation, not just for academics but for social and emotional competence – more necessary than ever in this challenging world.

Peter wrote many important books and articles, which I encourage everyone to read.  Doing so will leave no doubt as to his being a great educator and thinker.  And I’d like to share a letter he once wrote me in our early days, in a Green First Grade Composition book, that speaks volumes about the way he supported me.

 

Dear Roger, 

It is so exciting to have this opportunity to write you a birthday letter just at the time when we are poised to start first grade together, at the moment when the years of preparation to reinvent education from its roots to its blossoms find fruition. 

You have devoted your life to preparing yourself to run a company whose products will help people think their way into a thoughtful commitment to a new world of peace and prosperity. 

As I write, we are still waiting for the first funds that will power the creation of schools that, one life at a time, will find opportunities for children and their mentors the like of which have never been seen before in this world. 

As I look into the future from where we now stand, I see a vast and growing array of opportunities built on the foundation you so meticulously created. This will turn the current chaos into a new world order that might never have been created had Roger Stark never been born. 

The power of your energy and enthusiasm, together with your painstaking structuring of the foundational elements needed for the launching of our great spaceship of the mind have made this possible. 

I know from the occasion when I first met you that you carried in your heart a special understanding of the power of a well-built structure to foster opportunities that otherwise could never have taken shape.  

You knew how to find the time, care, and resources and to specify a structure in all the details that could be identified, so exactly that people could unite around it with a common spirit. 

In addition to understanding well-made plans, you understand dedicated people and what they can achieve, given the opportunity to share the fruits of each other’s strengths in an atmosphere of mutual support and commitment. 

Now, everywhere on earth, the world is waiting for the sunrise that you and our team are helping to make happen. 

The moment is upon us when the school bells will soon clang, bringing us together in our first-grade experience of setting up tutors and students in pairs so they can build minds of integrity and power. Meanwhile, we set the stage for a great commercial enterprise based on a product that over the years will reach out ever more deeply into the wellsprings of opportunity that still lie hidden in the human brain and heart conjoined. 

As we pass through the many grades of our mutual education, we will enjoy our graduation from elementary school then we will work our way through junior high school, as we reshape those products into evermore ambitious and powerful structures.  After some time, we’ll graduate from the high school in which we created a recognizably new educational system that is greening the entire world with its lush life of rich new possibilities. 

Our college education will be complete when the world has used this educational structure to create the companies, the nations, and the world enterprises that place ourselves and our environment above the petty greed and dissension that have so stained the gruesome march of time until now. 

The day will come when every person on earth will be turned into the descendants of the product we are polishing up in this time and find there the guidance and structure for success with whatever mental ventures they will create for a new age of collective harmony with our fellow creatures, our planet, and our universe. 

Roger, we have brought our dreams together like long lost brothers who have found a common goal in making more fulfillable the goals of others. 

I am so very glad that you were born. 

 Peter 

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