Interview with Congressman Tim Ryan

Cassie Caborn
Cassie Caborn

We began our whirlwind of a day with Congressman Tim Ryan. This was a wonderful way to kick start it. He counteracted a lot of the biases that I previously had about the typical characteristics of a Congressman. The reason why he initially got involved in Congress was because he saw his talents clearly, and utilized them in order to help represent the voice of the people. What really struck me about Congressman Ryan was his ability to incorporate a sense of awareness, and use of mindfulness into his work in Congress.

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Congressman Ryan advised us to take the time to slow down, and establish awareness. He discussed the issue of people getting caught up in the stress and anxiety of life, rather than making connections and producing compassion. When one is mindful and aware, things become more real and comprehensible. Through the development of mindfulness you begin to see the world on a larger scale and become aware of interconnected ideas. When you begin to take the time to reflect and become more conscious of your actions, it creates a more effective way to participate positively in the world. Congressman Ryan emphasized the significance of responding to situations rather than reacting. I think this is a very insightful way to approach situations; especially regarding the difficult job Congressman Ryan faces everyday in Congress.

Congressman Ryan was an inspirational man and even from speaking with him for a short amount of time, I was able to take away a lot of valuable information. I am now aware of the importance of reflection and mindfulness in relation to discovering my own morals, and who I want to be as a person.

Sally Shields
Sally Shields

Today was a crazy day for our class. As you are probably able to see from the many blog posts, we had eight interviews (plus a short appearance from Congressman Joe Kennedy).

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Congressman Tim Ryan began by speaking about his appreciation for Mount Madonna School and Center. He had been there a couple weeks ago on a retreat along with Anderson Cooper. He said that 60 Minutes was doing a segment on the mindfulness movement. He talked about his relationship with mindfulness and the things it has taught him. He told our class that his daily meditation practice and changed outlook on life have positively affected him in many ways. He said that he has become calmer, his awareness has been raised, he is usually less angry, and he has learned to respond and not react. The last part of that statement really struck me. During values class we have spoken a lot about not going into reaction mode. We need to be open to situations and not make snap decisions because we might not know the whole story. Negative attitudes are also not productive or necessary.

Congressman Ryan also spoke about was why he became a Congressman. He said that ever since he was young, his family has told him to use his talents to help other people. His family has been full of great examples of that, whether through community service, political contribution, or education. He believed that his natural talent for leadership and decision-making would make him a good public servant.

After reading his book, researching him, and developing questions I was excited to interview him. I thought it was a very interesting and, in my eyes, successful interview.