Now, as never before, my mind takes me back to the past. I look back on family, friends, and the extraordinary and powerful people I’ve been blessed to meet, live and work with. I have fond memories of all those wonderful and exciting programs we built from thoughts into reality and our unforgettable kids and staff.
One member of my huge family, a former psychologist, and professor at Berkley, emailed me some comments. Their point was that my growing up with eight family members in tight apartment quarters greatly impacted my child and youth programs. I agree as I have a sense of my upbringing’s considerable influence on me. Undoubtedly, it also shaped my work with adults about power, leadership, and the importance of dialogue between people significant to each other. Furthermore, I believe this of all humans—that we become the product of those long-term relationships and experiences in our childhood and youth years.
People seeking weekend fixes and tools might be under the impression that those solutions “have changed them.” But I DON’T THINK SO. Not that it means one should not seek to grow into a better person, participant, or leader. After all, it won’t harm anyone to try to change if it translates to an “inner desire” to grow as an individual and member of society.
Travel is an excellent example of what does work insofar as personal growth is concerned. Watching people in different environments, experiencing examples of other cultures and what they achieved, and even trying unusual/exotic foods are wonderful ways to expand one’s worldview. We loved seeing and tasting the world and doing as much of this as we could. I believe we grew from it all, even during those occasional dangerous and challenging moments. So, what if you get lost? Eventually, you won’t be.
The most important thing is to be you while inviting and supporting others to be themselves.