Rescued by Mentors

I happened to catch a fragment of a program the other day in which the interviewee was arguing that our experiences in early childhood shape our adult lives — in contrast to the genetic explanations of personality and adult behavior.

It set me thinking as to how fortunate I had been most of my life to have ben rescued by mentors. When I was about 4 I developed what was diagnosed as rheumatic fever which attacks the heart. The family doctor immediately ordered a regime that prevented me even from walking. A kindly British nurse cared for me — carrying me out to a cot on warm days. She taught me numbers and also the preliminaries of reading with extreme kindness.

My first through third grades were blessed by a school experiment having the same teacher carry on the three years with her classes. Miss Loretti who became Mrs. Batista along the way was a superb and loving teacher. My education continued with much mentoring by fine teachers and granted me an exchange year in a British “public” (code for expensive private school) where I also had fine and caring teachers — except perhaps for the one who would throw a book at us if he caught us not paying attention.

I think all the mentors that I had throughout my Ph.D. gave me the guts to challenge injustices wherever I encountered them — despite the risks involved in challenging authorities which included several college presidents among others.

In these rough times I imagine many are avoiding conflicts which are threatening to their well-being.

This may be the major threat to our nation now.

Bring on more Bradley Mannings!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradley_Manning

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent [blind copies]

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