They come in all shapes, sizes, ages, and colors. Regretfully, I used to think that I had never really had anyone in my life who would have counted as a mentor, other than my father. But I have come to realize that I have actually had many who mentored me – in bits and pieces.
I learned responsibility and duty from my mother, creativity and believing that I could be anything I chose to be from my dad. I found a great humanitarian in books I read by Dr. Thomas A. Dooley. Through the years I learned to respect diversity. Grade school and high school teachers were Dominican nuns who really cared how we all turned out and made an effort with each of us. Aunts and a cousin encouraged my writing. The parents of a close friend treated me as their own and shared their family with me when mine was quite sparse. Time and again I witnessed the impact of treasured friendships on loved ones around me. In more recent years, I received selfless help from countless sources in creating a book, having it published, and marketing it. None of those things would ever have happened otherwise. And through church friendships and prison ministry I have discovered individuals I know I want to emulate.
Though there has been no single, stand-out person in my life, I have reaped all the benefits of mentorship. I have been taught how to behave, and how to dream. I have learned certain tasks, and been exposed to new ideas. I have found people to love, and heroes to admire. Great or small, the role of a mentor shows another how to be.
To mentors everywhere, and especially to those who have impacted my life, I say thank you. My life is richer today because of you.