Reminds me of my Dad, seeing his kids as so different yet encouraging us to cultivate our strengths.
I would become a journalist, one brother an entrepreneur, and my baby brother an international aide worker. But we all needed the entrepreneurial traits of resourcefulness, critical thinking, perseverance and ability to work well with people extremely unlike us.
Brad exemplifies these traits.
What a timely post for me to share with my Dad before the weekend.
Thank you Stanley. You have touched many of us.
The poem followed her comment.
In a civilization when love is gone we turn to justice and when justice is gone we turn to power and when power is gone we turn to violence.
Opportunity is often inconvenient.
Remember the many compartments of the heart, the seed of what is possible. So much of who we are is defined by the places we hold for each other. For it is not our ingenuity that sets us apart, but our capacity for love, the possibility our way will be lit by grace. Our hearts prisms, chiseling out the colors of pure light.
I am gratified that these articles under the category of Life Experiences have influenced so many of you. The key is to find love in relationships and not hatred and adversity. I have always focused on this principle in relationships with family, friends and my patients.
Many of you can recall negative influences in your life. I suggest you re-examine them and try to turn those sour lemons into lemonade.
When Brad was fifteen one of the patients in my practice entered our life. Mr. X was 75 years old. He was one of the giants of the computer industry in the 1950’s and 60’s. He had Diabetes Mellitus and hypertension. Both could be controlled easily if it were not for his alcoholism. His depression was his most debilitating illness. He perseverated about his past accomplishments.
In spite of his illness, I recognized a path to help him find friendship and provide an intellectual experience for Brad and me. I set up a meeting outside the clinic for us to have a cup of coffee. The meeting lasted for 3 hours. Mr. X discovered two people who would listen and befriend him. We too, found a friend.
Mr. X enjoyed the effect he was having on us. I was pleased that his depression was lifting.
He became Brad’s mentor. He recognized Brad’s talent and wanted to help develop it. He got Brad his first job in the computer industry. It was with a husband and wife that Mr. X mentored previously.
The couple was hard working and smart. Brad had a fabulous experience learning about the petroleum software business. He also experienced the grind of the corporate world.
When Brad was 15 ½, I asked Mr. X if he knew anyone in the software business in England. I thought Brad would love the experience of living and working in England over a summer.
Brad was all for it. I did not appreciate the true potential of this experience. Mr. X connected Brad with another former student of his (Mr. Y), who was an executive in a printer manufacturing firm in London. The firm built and programmed Daisy Wheel printers. The software in those days was just as important as the hardware.
I could not get a work permit for Brad in London. Mr. Y promised Brad one of their expensive printers as salary at the end of the summer. I would have sent him without “salary.”
We sent Brad to London on Freddie Laker Airways . Freddie Laker Airways was a no frill low cost airline that flew direct from Dallas to London. He arrived in London safe and sound.
Mr. X arranged room and board by contacting another friend. The subway stop was Ealing Common. The office was in Knightsbridge several stops down the line.
Brad had some major problems. He turned each lemon into lemonade. The man who owned the house was a pensioner. He had no desire to work and every desire to be pessimistic about the future. He also had this young kid that he thought he could contaminate with his thinking. It did not work. Brad almost converted him to an optimist.
The second problem was London’s subway workers went on strike. When Brad called I told him to look for a used bicycle and ride to work. Brad found a bicycle for fifteen dollars and did just that for a few weeks until the strike ended.
There are many stories Brad can tell about his experiences that summer.
The final problem with the summer was getting home. Freddie Laker was on the verge of bankruptcy. I think he got the last flight out of London. Freddie flew to Philadelphia and landed at 6.30 pm.
Brad called us not knowing what to do. Our advice was to stay cool and fight his way on to an American Airlines flight. With a lot of talking, a little help from Freddie and a tremendous about of perseverance Brad got on the 9.30 pm flight from Philadelphia.
I picked him up at DFW at 1 am, gave him a big huge and told him how proud I was of him.
Cecelia, Daniel and I stayed up most of the night hearing stories of his London experience. If it wasn’t for Mr. X and my perception he needed a friend, Brad and our family would not have had this wonderful experience.