Don't we all need a mentor, a positive influence to help us over the "bumps" of life. Lucky for me, I have many examples to get this "baby boomer" through the challenges of my life.
The people who have served in the role of a mentor and inspiring examples for me are comprised of what has been dubbed, "The Greatest Generation". My dad is one of these people at the age of 92 plus. He is one of the mentors in my life- a positive influence, a role model. More on him later.
To begin, I want to share briefly about a few women whom I find exceptional, inspiring. There is Diana who at the age of 90, legally blind, hosted a lovely luncheon at her apartment (yesterday) for 17 people. She did not let her failed sight keep her from preparing a delicious meal, setting up card tables with china, and silver, serving desert: delightful and delicious, the mode of the day. Our speaker for the morning was 84 year old Jeanine. She is a well seasoned presenter whose repertoire contains a variety of topics, one topic, The 12 Step Program. Her talk was entertaining, humorous, and very succinct (I have been to conferences where highly paid speakers were not as organized, on task nor as interesting). Our fearless leader, a former teacher of 80ish led the meeting with poise and decorum, a flawless presentation.
Mrs.Juanita Doggett, a former principal asked me when I interviewed for the counseling job in her inner city school, "Do you have a problem working with black children" (no hedging with her!)? Easy was the answer I gave her, and I am sure, why I was hired, "I have just finished working in Haiti for two years, and I graduated from a black college". She and I were friends until her death. Mrs. Doggett worked fifty years in the city schools, making changes, encouraging children through a wealth of programming ie: public speaking for students, extra music programs, diversifying for them to prepare them for entering a global world. Black and white didn't matter — it was about educating children, and a white counselor was welcome in her black school. A city park near the school was later named in her honor.
An amazing couple, Louise and Will, now in their late 80's continue setting up food pantries, organizing tutoring programs for Bosnian children, visiting hospitals, never idle. I really think they should share what kind of vitamins they are consuming or what their elixir for youth is!
My last example (but not really as I have many more) my dad. Life did not begin easily for him but he has never used his "upbringing" as an excuse for anything. Rather he has always been "the cup is half full" kind of guy. Orphaned at the age of 11, he was taken in by a family where he stayed until enlisting in the Navy. Twenty years serving his country. My dad is not a warm fuzzy kind of guy, but you know he stands on his word and he will stand by you.
I so grateful for the influence of my friends, acquaintances, relatives who are part of this "Greater Generation". They give me encouragement to stay involved, to aspire to higher values, and to contribute to the community. As the pages of my calendar continue to increase, these mentors let me know, age is only a number.