I remember a defining experience over 50 years ago when frustrations suddenly spiked and I found myself hurling insults, taking swings at a classmate. I never intended to hurt him, but I was and I didn’t know why. Mr. Papadakis, my gym teacher, held my arm back firmly and spoke calmly, “Georgie, I don’t know why you’re doing this but you have to stop and figure things out. This isn’t you.” Mr. Papadakis has passed on, as have many other amazing heroes in my life. They all expected more of me than what they saw in weaker moments. This past November my oldest brother Mike passed away. He expected more from me than he saw at times. He gave me his best, freely admitted his worst, put me in my place, built me up again, and forgave me for things I said.
We all have role models who motivated us to make changes for the good-to see beyond ourselves to better days. Jan. 21 was Thank Your Mentor Day. Take time to personally thank your heroes in whatever ways you choose. Reflect on ways you can help the youth around you see their better selves.
Salt Lake City