“Do you have a passport??” That is what my boss said to me in May 1981. The answer was ‘No’ and he said, “get one”.
At the time it was Wednesday and he told me I had to be on a plane on Saturday. I was able to get a letter from HR, fly to Chicago on Thursday with the letter, my birth certificate and ID and by 4pm I had a passport in my hand.
I made the trip and flew to Paris for my first connection to ultimately end up in Pescara Italy. It was not my first trip outside the US but it was my first one traveling alone and for an extended period of time. I had a lot to learn (still do).
There is a point to this story. The title is part of it.
As I got settled into the hotel in Paris that first day I wanted to shower and get some rest from the long flight. I was puzzled about the fact that there was a shower but no curtain. I learned later that it was typical (even in personal homes) that there is no curtain but I did not know that. Just seemed really weird.
My point is that when we move from one place where we are really comfortable it can be disorienting and puzzling. It can get really uncomfortable but as I stuck with it I had a great time and learned a lot.
I have started another journey that I will be sharing as it unfolds but wanted to get some of this out of my head so I can see it. I’ll share more of the details of how I got here but for now let me say I have a research project on mentoring that is pressing on me.
It’s about mentoring people out of poverty and into a higher level in the economic strata that our wonderful country offers.
Part of that journey out of poverty will feel like traveling to another country to the person making the change. It will seem very uncomfortable to them and they will have to persist but it is possible if they will. I am certain both the mentor and mentee will be changed for the better.
One of my first meetings on this whole thing is today. I am meeting with a church administrator and a non-profit organization that helps with tuition for lower income families. The meeting is the first of what I hope is many but it is just the first one and I just don’t know what to expect. We’ll see.
If you want to read something that has begun to impact me I would suggest ‘Bridges out of Poverty’ to you and maybe you’ll be touched to help in this too as it grows. Another is an article that talks about ‘economic mobility’ and how the idea of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer is not necessarily the whole truth.
If you want to talk about this I am happy to sit down with you over coffee. I hang out at Boulder Creek a lot lately and it’s a good place for a conversation. Maybe I’ll see you there.
Thanks for listening,
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