Authentic Communication and Spiritual Growth Lead to New Teaching Model and Memoir: When Two Rivers Meet

Posted on August 11, 2015 By

In the finale of “Mad Men,” viewers saw a previously conflicted Don Draper sitting serenely on a cliff in California with others in what seemed a moment of supreme enlightenment and transcendence. Learning to listen with your heart has been the lifelong quest of author Richard Gahr, Lakewood, probably before Matthew Wiener ever conceived of the television series “Mad Men.”

Gahr has written When Two Rivers Meet, a memoir that mostly takes place takes place in those extraordinary years of the 1960s. The book tells of his unexpected encounters with monasteries and monastic life that began when he was nine years old and continues to inform his life and work today, eventually leading to a new way of teaching, and his continued growth and development.

Among his other accomplishments, Gahr is a founding member of the Graduate Center for Human Development, Fairleigh Dickinson University, where from 1968 to 1988 he was associate professor in an innovative and ground-breaking program for future leaders in the fields of education, health care, criminal justice, social services, and business. Gahr’s way of teaching evolved in this program.

An important part of Gahr’s way of teaching is listening and responding with one’s heart. Gahr said, “Listening and responding with one’s heart is rooted in the Bible. It is the form the Bible gives to our basic religious quest as human beings. I’ve come to believe that responsive listening can make a real difference in the nature of our human relationships.”

Gahr’s memoir has two parts. The first part tells the story of how this new way of teaching evolved over many years. Gahr said, “The second part is a series of letters I wrote to a man I was mentoring who wanted to learn how to teach.”

Gahr realizes the importance of several key factors that are necessary in teaching, such a responsive listening. Gahr also believes that “it is the ‘inner work’ that brings more meaning and allows greater insight. All of these insights to one’s own self create a unique teacher that today’s students need more than ever.”

Gahr is the author of several articles and monographs focusing on innovative and pioneering programs in Education and Human Development. In recent years, he has researched and designed several education programs that promote professional and organizational renewal.

“My hope is that my memoir When Two Rivers Meet will encourage teachers everywhere to learn to see their work as a sacred calling.”
When Two Rivers Meet by Richard Kenneth Gahr can be purchased at for $10.00.

About Richard Gahr
Gahr has been a consultant, mentor, and speaker in both the public and private sectors. He designed an educational program for disadvantaged children, Toms River School, that received a U.S. Government Citation for Excellence, the Lilly Endowment Leadership Education Program, Monmouth University’s Governor’s School on Public Issues, and the James P. Comer School Improvement Program at Yale University.

Richard Gahr, who was graduated from Pt. Pleasant Beach High School in 1954, earned his B.S. in education from Glassboro State College (now Rowen) in 1958 and his M.A. in education from Seton Hall University. He also studied with the National Training Laboratories at the Tavistock Institute, Yale University; the Lindisfarne Association, the Depth Psychology Institute at Drew University; and the Child Study Center, Yale University.

From 1962-65, he was teacher and then principal at the Bay Head School, New Jersey; a consultant in Child Development for the State Department of Education, 1965-68; an associate professor for the Center of Human Development, Fairleigh Dickinson University, from 1968 to 1988; and an associate professor of Education and Humanities at Monmouth University from 1990-1995. At Monmouth University, he served as Education Department Chairman and director of several programs in Monmouth’s five-year campus-wide initiative in Education for Leadership and Social Responsibility. He also served as a Senior Fellow at Monmouth’s Center for the Study of Public Issues.

He is a member of the Robert K. Greenleaf Association for Servant Leadership, the Association for Process Philosophy of Education, the Association of Organizational Transformation, and Kappa Delta Pi, the national education honor society, from which he received the Celebration of Teaching Award, Monmouth University, in 1992 and 1995