I just read an article which posed the question “who in your life had the greatest positive impact upon you?”. The author went on to describe how his Dad was that person. They apparently habitually listened to the news on the radio and then immediately spent time discussing what they heard. He said those discussions taught him much and gave him well rounded perspective about his immediate surroundings, the city in which he lived, his country, the world in general, and his place within it.
I guess it’s not unusual that one’s dad is profoundly influential in the lives of his kids. Most people, provided they lived in a strong family unit, would tell you their Mom or Dad were the most important people in shaping their lives. But when you really think about it, there were probably several people along the way that had a significant positive impact at particular stages. After all, everyone whether they realize it or not, are fully engaged in a “hero’s journey” from cradle to grave.
Along the way are mentors, helpers and facilitators that help meet the challenges and “slay the dragons” encountered. In the process one learns and grows. The bigger the challenge, the greater the reward and the greater the magnitude of change. And change means growth. One grows or atrophies. One cannot stand still.
In my case that question of who had the most profound positive impact upon me as an individual immediately evoked the memory of my Scout Master. He was an Austrian mountaineer and guide. I vividly remember his immense strength and calm, quiet confidence. Needless to say I instantly liked and trusted him.
I was about 12 or 13 when I joined Scouts. We lived in a small village in Southeastern British Columbia. I became a member of the Wolf Pack and eagerly looked forward to the adventures I knew were to come. We spent two years in that part of the world before heading back to Alberta. Those years stand out as among the best in my entire life. Being a Boy Scout was a major part of that enjoyment.
I recalled all the things I learned as a Scout and the confidence and abilities I acquired by following the lead and instructions of that Scout Master. Those carried forward into the rest of my life and I taught those values and skills to others as the Cub Master when I was in High School. And I passed those on to my own kids, who are now doing the same with theirs.
There were many more mentors and helpers during the following decades, including some great friends, supervising professors and professional colleagues. It all started with scouting. My Scout Master will never know what a profound impact he had upon my life, but I am forever grateful for having encountered him. The timing was perfect. As the saying goes “when the student is ready, the teacher appears”.
So I ask you “who had the greatest positive impact on your life?”. Think about that and be grateful.
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