I’ll start off by indicating that this post has absolutely nothing to do with any of my published categories – but rather with mentoring. If you’ve never considered mentoring someone younger, I strongly urge you to. My experience with this came about in a rather unusual fashion, and doesn’t include volunteering with any formal organizaiton. To be honest, I didn’t even see myself as a mentor for the first couple years . . . it’s only been in the last few years that I have come to realize that I was in fact a mentor, although as time progresses it is becoming increasingly difficult to determine just who is mentoring whom from day to day :^) If you have the opportunity, I urge you to consider taking part and making a difference in someone’s life – it has proven to be the absolute most rewarding thing I have done in my time on Earth thus far . . .
A little over 4 years ago, I was introduced to a scrawny little 15 year old high-school freshman who we hired part-time when I was still working for my family’s business. As I got to know him, it became apparent that he needed some guidance. It’s not that he was a bad kid or in any kind of major trouble – but he was pretty much on his own. He came and went as he pleased, and his parents didn’t keep track of him. Despite the 9 year age difference, we became friends, and I stepped into a big-brother role, primarily to watch out for him – because he was a really good kid, and I wanted to make sure he didn’t do anything stupid to jeopardize the virtually limit-less future in front of him.
Well, it’s four years later and he’s still somewhat scrawny – but he’s not just another kid or just a co-worker anymore. As far as we’re both concerned, we’re brothers. Whatever is missing in terms of a blood relationship has been more than made up for in a bond forged while dealing with girlfriends, broken hearts, divorce and totalled cars. He has taught me so much about myself and has had such an impact on me, that I cannot imagine being the person I am today without him in my life. No matter how much I try to convey that message, he has a hard time believing that he has helped me . . . but then again, I have a hard time believing I’ve made as big of a difference as he says I have. So maybe we’re just too much alike :^)
So what brought this post on? I moved him up to Iowa State this weekend, and since this is his sophomore year, it was naturally a whole lot easier to leave him up there than it was last year. I’m so unbelievably proud of him – besides being one of the most popular guys in his fraternity and very intelligent, he’s really matured and is fair, honest, passionate and hard-working. He’s majoring in Mechanical Engineering, has made Dean’s List each semester thus far, and was elected Scholarship Chair for the house.
Thanks to Unlimited Nights & Weekends on our cell phones, we talk daily – but it’s just not the same as having him around.
I guess it all just boils down to the fact that I miss my brother . . .