by Larry Beyak
Growing up was a lonely, confusing journey. I was the lone male in my dysfunctional family. School was a very intimidating place; fear, severe asthma, and poverty taught me the wrong lessons of life. Growing up was truly a struggle, and being alone offered no guidance, nor the opportunity to share my interests. My mother contacted Big Brothers, and I was partnered up with my Big Brother, Gus.
On the day Gus entered my life, it changed. First impressions are lasting impressions. That initial meeting proved pivotal. Gus was an extremely patient, caring, and gentle giant. He reached out to shake my hand, a firm, warm handshake that immediately forged a bond of trust and friendship. Nobody before or since has been able to establish such an instant bond.
Over the initial few months, Gus taught me about reliability. Every week, he would call without fail on Thursday night, to plan our time together. Whether going to his house or a Ti-Cats game, or helping him do something, I was never alone again.
Our interests were very similar, right down to our choice of vocation. Since the age of nine, my dream had been to become a paramedic. I didn’t know it at the time, but learned later that Gus worked for the local ambulance corps. Although we are decades apart in what has become a deeply respected and educated profession, my career path has coincidentally mirrored his — something that gives me great pride.
Gus also instilled three gifts that I never would have received without him. He taught me respect, for myself and others; humanity, and how to recognize it and live within its shadow; and finally, how paying it forward, in the form of mentorship, allows us to have patience and be tolerant of each other.
Gus didn’t make a difference, he made the difference in my life. This, I think, is the true goal of Big Brothers Big Sisters and should never be taken for granted.
Thank you, Gus.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Mentoring Respect and Humanity — Mirroring Images
Posted by Unknown at 12:30 PM