Friends and mentors

I dreamt about an old friend and mentor last night.

I remember meeting Les when I was in high school. He and my mother went to the same high school, years before, and he was her attorney the few times she needed one. When I went off to college, Les and I started corresponding.

On my own for the first time in my life and at a university, I was full of new ideas. As a sounding board, Les encouraged my armchair exploration of philosophy. I loved to “argue” politics with Les, and our letters would banter back and forth in a good-spirited way. He would tell of his involvement in politics and the first war crimes trials in Germany at the end of World War II. He was writing a book and kept me abreast of his progress – or lack thereof.

My last year of college, when I ran out of savings, Les loaned me what I needed to cover tuition and graduate. After, I was off to establish my career and life as an adult. Nonetheless, Les and I continued our friendship and correspondence until his death.

Isaac Newton wrote “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” Whether or not we see further than others, our lives are shaped by those who come before us and whose personal example makes a lasting impression, one that influences our character.

Because of Les, I came to better understand the importance of altruistic service and integrity to principle. Those are two good values to have.

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