Someone that has greatly affected my life is an 83 year old woman I worked for named Barbara Benning. I began working for her about two years ago. I was hired to help her with some unpacking. She had just moved to Bellingham from Vancouver Washington. Apon entering her apartment it was very evident that she is a hoarder. She keeps everything she gets in the mail, every receipt or scrap of paper, old calendars, old pens, nick-nacks, medical supplies, clothes, and a massive amount of cups and dishes among many other odd things that most don't even have one of. But Barb would have twelve. I would go into her home and basically pry things away from her to throw away. She didn't seem to mind once she saw all the space we were creating. The part about Barb that is so admiral is that Barb inherited close to a million dollars from her father and has given most of it away. She invested some so she has a constant income even though she hasn't worked in years. But she lives modestly and gives to all those that she sees. She gives monthly to more than ten charities, as well as doing things like purchasing a bed for her pastor and his wife. She asked me to drive her to the sleep number store one day. It was a two hour drive but she said she needed a new bed. We got there after a very long day with Miss Barbra Benning in the car, she is an eccentric woman for sure. She purchased a $5,000 bed for herself and then told the salesman to deliver the same one to her pastors address. Everyone in the store was shocked. It didn't surprise me one bit though, that was Barb. Giving without any expectation for something in return. Simply because she believed that the world needed more happiness and less pain. She is someone I am still very close with. She reminds me to give from the heart and to bless others as much as possible. Even if that means being on a stricter budget for myself, or having less "me time". Barbara Benning has brightened so many lives and I can only hope to one day be in the position to give as freely as she does.
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Do you think your relationship with Barbara was one sided? In the sense that you were the only one who learned some form of morality through your friendship. From reading your anecdote one would only imagine that she learned/ realized that morality is not monetary and that one could give someone things that money cannot. It sounds like you showed her a healthier way of living in the sense of clutter and ability to get rid of useless yet sometimes sentimental items. Lastly, what was the weirdest thing you came across in cleaning out her place?
Barb and I are still very close. She tells me all the time how much she misses my organization for her life. I hope I passed on some sort of non monetary attribute that could be valuable to her. Possibly realizing that life is not about the things you possess but about the memories you have in there place. The strangest thing I found in barbs home was tons of travel size Lysol spray cans. The kind that are no bigger than your palm. I asked her why she had so many and she said she was using them as deodorant!! We had a long discussion after that about what's appropriate to be spraying on our bodies and what's not. Come to think of it I should probably give Barbie a call and make sure she hasn't picked up any new crazy habits like this!
The greatest mentor I’ve had in my life was my childhood baseball coach, Mr. Stangel. Not only was he my coach, he was also a family friend, a neighbor, and a police officer in our small town. His intentions as a baseball coach weren’t just to teach us how to play baseball. He would always say that he was teaching us to be “model citizens” and learning to play ball was part of the outcome. Many of his sayings still stick with me today, but his actions during a tough time are what made him a true role model. My family was the victim of a violent crime and he was a police officer in our town, as well as a family friend. Mr. Stangel stood by our family despite people threatening his job because of a conflict of interest. He was the one that told my school why I was absent, and would figure out what we did in class so he could give me the days lesson later that evening. Our town never has much crime, so it brought reporters, as well as ordinary people to our door to ask questions. Mr. Stangel would sit out front of our house for hours each day and tell the visitors that they were unwanted and try to let our family have some privacy. He displayed what it was to be that “model citizen” he was always telling us to be. Unfortunately, his amazing moral courage ended with him transferring to a different police department, and eventually retiring from the police force. But even with that as a possibility, he was still there to help someone in need and my family will always be grateful for what he did.
I believe that anyone that has done a sport has found that most coaches turn out to be some of the nicest and most genuine people around. When I was a junior in high school I broke both my wrists playing football. There was one coach that would find me every day in the halls and ask if there was anything that he could to help me out. He would carry my backpack to and from some classes. He truly would go out of his way to help anyone in need. It teaches us to help anyone that is in need of help and expect nothing in return.
Those are some great points. I feel that we have had some similar experiences with our coaches. Throughout college and high school I have always felt that my coaches have been there for me and I could go to them about anything. I have never had an experience like that with the police, but I would like to think that some of my coaches that I was close with that, were also police officers would help me out in the same ways. It was always great to have another type of support outside of my family.
The best mentor that I have had in my life is my late grandfather. He would say that everything you do in life that brings joy to someone will return to you. As my grandfather aged his body began to give out, so I would go out to his house every week to help with simple chores around the house and go into town with him to run errands. During one particular trip into town we stopped by the gas station to fuel up. As we sat there waiting for our tank to fill we saw an elderly couple drive up in an 80’s beat up car. The man driving the car could hardly see over the steering wheel. He opened the car door only to struggle to get out. My grandfather immediately got out the truck and walked over to his car and told him that he would help. The man driving the car thanked him and tried to pull out his wallet only to find that he had forgotten it at home. My grandfather never missed a beat pulling out his own wallet and paid the gas. It occurred to be me on this trip that my grandfather even though he was aged and struggled to accomplish his own tasks was still willing to help anyone in need. When we pulled out of the gas station I looked into to see the man smiling from ear to ear waving as he was saying goodbye to a great friend. We never saw the old couple again but I am sure that the simple act of paying and pumping their gas was an act they would talk about for years.
Alex, It is great to hear these stories of kindness. Your grandfather sounds like a great man and even when he was down himself and needed the help of others he still put the time in to do good in the world. People like that are an inspiration to us all and a great example to live your life. it is people like your late grandfather that make this country great and it is a shame that it seems like this country is starting to lose that rural friendliness that was the backbone of America for so many years.
Alright, this proved to be difficult for me. I have had many mentors through my life that would be worth mentioning but to say that one has had a significant and memorable moral bout would be a lie. The mentors I have had have taught me how to be through everyday life and not isolated cases of exceptional morals. This I believe is just as important if not even more important than someone showing moral courage through a single event. Being taught how to be and how to treat others on a daily basis is what will lead one to display great morals when the opportunity arises. One would hope that someone that practices remedial morality would have the courage to act in a significant moral bout. Now that we have my opinion, I have stretched an event to be morally courageous. My latest mentor (my boss who shall be unnamed) is a loving and giving motherly icon that takes care of her own (employees) as if they are her children. She leads us in an on campus club that we started only a few years ago, we went on a trip last year to go to a conference and competition we were competing in. In order to finance this she put herself on the line and spent the money way before we had any of it. She did this despite the possibility of punishment in order to give us the opportunity and experience of going to a professional conference to compete with other students and engage in conversations with professionals.
Very well put! I think that as people we put way to much value on a single event that shows courage or morality. It is all to easy to be a good person for a short time. Iv known many people who were truth be told horrible people. Every once in a while they would pull it together and do something honorable. It was extremely frustrating to see them get so much recognition for something when they did five things the very same day that proved without a doubt that they had no moral compass. I think that to take as much as we can from those that we come in contact with we need to pick and choose the instances we model ourselves after and when we do come across the select few that show morality in all aspects of their lives we need to hold on to those mentors as long as we possibly can. They are few and far between.
"to take as much as we can from those that we come in contact with we need to pick and choose the instances we model ourselves after" That is gold
The main mentor I had had in my life is my dad. He has always been there for me and he is a very smart and wise man. even when i was very little i would ask him questions all the time about how the world works and he would always have answers. He is a chemical engineer and engineering it self gave him the tools too answer pretty much every question I ever had with relative ease. He is also very handy and has worked on cars all his life. I haven't see a problem with a car that he can not fix. He just has a good grasp on how the world works and how to solve problems these skills are so important in life because it makes life a lot easier and can make for better informed decisions. Morally he is a very wise man too. He always does what he can to help his family, friends and the people around him. When i was 14 he let me leave home and live in a different state with a different family to pursue my goal of becoming a professional hockey player. He was selfless in giving up his only child to let him pursue a dream. It is easy to be selfless with family and especial your children but his real selflessness and moral compass comes out when he gives back to the community and people that he can't see the difference his efforts make. Every year he adopts a family for Christmas through a charity program and he buys toys for the kids and clothes and gives a Christmas to a family that would otherwise have nothing. he will never see the family though and will never see the good it does but his morals are impeccable and they say to give to the less fortunate.
I can understand how a parent can be a great mentor. My dad was always going out of his way to make situations for me better as well. I know that without him I wouldn’t be where I am today or who I am today. I think that everyone can learn good moral values from watching their parents actions, good or bad. I know my dad didn’t always make the best decisions, but I learned from watching his mistakes, and will make sure I don’t make the same ones. I believe a father will always be a mentor to his children whether he tries to or not.
My main mentor growing up would have to be my Dad. He had many great pieces of advice throughout the years, but there one that stands out the most when talking about moral courage. This would be the idea of accountability. He always taught me that there are going to be times in life where I would make mistakes just as he did. It was always most important to acknowledge that you made a mistake and get the help you need to get the mistake fixed. I found this helpful Through out my time participating in sports when I would make a mistake on the field. This advice was also helpful in my everyday life when I lived with my parents. They were always easier on me if I tell them what I did wrong (getting sent to the principles office for example) compared to trying me to hide my mistakes from them and hoping they do not find out. I feel this was an important lesson to learn because it shows that it is okay to make mistakes, but only as long as you are willing to fix them. This in turn can also help a person become better overall. If one admits to the mistakes they have made and fixes those mistakes, then they are a better person. So, I am great full for all my Dad's lessons, but this was a great one to learn looking back.
One person that has been a virtuous person in my life is my grandfather. He is an awesome guy and owns a farm in Kalispell, his name is Jerry Siderius. He was in the US airforce and served in Vietnam. One experience that i have had with him is going on flyfishing trips in Cedar park. Cedar park is a campsite on the middle fork of the Flatthead river. It is my favorite place to fish and a very beautiful place. There is a gorge that is unpassable by boat but a appealing place for fish to hide. I have caught a fish everytime i drop a line in there. Once again my grandpa is a great human being and a force in my life.