YOUNG VOICES: Take time to thank male mentors, too

2014-05-10T21:30:00Z YOUNG VOICES: Take time to thank male mentors, tooBy Jimmy Lafakis nwitimes.com
May 10, 2014 9:30 pm  • 

As we prepare to celebrate Mother's Day, let me be the first to assert that no one loves his mother more than I love mine.

My guess is that many feel a similar maternal love, but I believe with all my heart that my mother has provided unconditional love that is special and that has helped make me the man I am becoming.

Equally as important, but not as often discussed or celebrated, is the love my father has given to his son. It is the role my father has occupied in my life that I would like to focus on.

As a disclaimer, I repeat, this is in no way a slight to my mother, who I love immensely; rather, it is a nod to all of the male mentors who help boys navigate the sometimes turbulent waters into manhood.

First, I thank my father for many things. I thank him for teaching me to swing a bat and breaking in numerous baseball gloves. I thank him for insightful conversations during long car rides about a host of issues. I thank him for the strength and security he provided as I encountered new experiences as I matured.

I always knew my father loved me. What I didn't realize until recently, however, is how fortunate I am to have a primary male mentor. Such a figure plays a valuable role, and while not absolutely necessary, it helps a young man to have such a figure in his life.

My father mentored me through sports and the attendant winning and losing. My father mentored me about the do's and don'ts of driving and the pros and cons of potential college choices.

As I prepare for the next chapter of my life, it has become apparent that I will benefit from the continued assistance of male mentors. I'm not certain of the issues I will encounter, but I have no doubt that having positive male mentors will be an asset.

During my quest, I hope my father will be there next to me as coach, as friend, as mentor. I hope these few words have acted as at least a token of appreciation and the memorializing I owe my father.

In this way, I perhaps am no different than many others; however, acknowledging this debt is important, and I urge my peers to take the time to thank their male mentors as well. Thank you.

Jimmy Lafakis, of Schererville, is a junior at Lake Central High School. The opinions are the writer's.

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