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!

“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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