Many people are living and working in the world, and those who know us are always helping us, even when we do not realize it. We need to recognize this assistance and use it to our advantage. We grow, not by our own work alone. We grow by all the interactions we have along the way with others.
When I met my wife in college, we talked about many things. I talked about how nice it would be to go and live in Alaska for a while and enjoy the scenery and the animals and the climate. My wife told her mom about this conversation, and her mom told her to stay away from me. Her mom was worried and said that I was a dreamer. The fascinating part of this is that my second son was born at the Elmendorf Air Force Base hospital in Anchorage, Alaska.
We all have relatives and friends who would sometimes doubt our ideas. Tell us that we have to give up foolishness and get serious. I mention these folks first because they are the ones who helped me the most. When I heard all the reasons why I could not do something, it gave me pause to double-check my work and assumptions and to strive even harder. To the naysayers, I owe my most considerable debt of gratitude. Thank you.
We all have those who will challenge us. The friends and family who will egg us on. Those who will dare others to do what they may not do themselves. I appreciate these folks because they help us to stretch. Because of them, we explore our farthermost reach and begin to understand where we can and cannot go. These are often the question askers. Just remember neither you nor anyone else has all the answers. We are often judged by others who listen to what we say. If we are correct in talking about things other people know about, we are more likely to be believed in things that they do not know. If we get what they know about wrong, people are often less likely to trust us.
I like the people who make us think. They will ask why more often than a three-year-old. But each why gives me something to check out and explore. Almost everything we know today started with one word, ‘Why?’
My favorites are mentors. The best mentors don’t just tell you and answer, they ask you questions. They are having patience with you so that you can explore and learn the things which they have learned. It’s the process, not the answer, that helps you grow. This is a gift you cannot afford to keep to yourself, you must share this with others. You do this because when one person grows, all those around them grow also.
Please remember that on the highway of life, knowledge, information, and learning are always a two-way street. If you keep your gains only to yourself, they wither on the vine. As you share what you have learned with others, a magical thing happens. You flourish and grow.
Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.