REFLECTION: It seems that part of living is learning to say good bye. I bid farewell last week to a former colleague and mentor, Harold Baker, with whom I had worked at the U of S years ago, and with whom I had kept in touch over the years. Harold, as testimonials at his memorial service confirmed, was a kind man, a gentleman, a selfless giver, a mentor, a teacher, and, above all, a community builder.
When I was in my early 20’s, and Harold was already a couple of decades further down this road of life, he and I were teamed up as staff partners at a youth development event. While our assigned group of thirty teenagers chatted and milled around us, we settled into the front seats of our charter bus for a short road trip to an out-of-town venue. As the bus reached the highway and headed for the open road, Harold turned to me and inquired, “So, tell me, young lady, exactly what do you intend to do with your life?”
Now, I’d heard a variation or two on that question before. From the time we can talk, as children, we are quizzed by the adults in our lives. “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?” But this was not that kind of question. There was no condescension, no playfully poking fun, no making light conversation.
It was a simple, sincere, inquiry that carried a raft of implied messages – these amongst them. That even at this young age and early stage in my career, he saw me as capable of serious intentions and grand ambitions. That it was not too early – nor too late – to lift up my eyes and set my sails. That my plans might include a contribution or two to the lives of others and not just focus on my own self interests.
For me, it was a game-changing question. Read More…
This post was written by Pat Katz on March 29, 2011