Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Person of High Character

As the day finally unwinds, I called a good friend of mine. Actually, he's my best friend's father. I call him "Uncle" Tom. Obviously, we aren't blood related, but there exists a friendship between us that we can say we're "family-related". And let me tell you something else, he's a person of high character. I think it takes the knowledge, the determination, the maturity/age (he's 51), and the heart to be that kind of person. And whenever, I had a problem with anything - mortgage, parents, siblings, tenants, other people, etc - I would call him up and ask him for his advice. He was never too busy, and never got angry when I called him early/late and often. And with "Uncle" Tom, I just thought this is what true friendships should be like. Also, when you have problems, what should you do? First, pray. Second, find your friends and talk it out. And of course, most of us are either too busy to talk and/or forget to call back. Not this guy. He wanted to help me and point me in the right direction. I mean, think about it. What did I really have to offer this guy? He's not my father and I don't work for him. I don't make any money for him and he doesn't really need me for anything. Exactly, which is my point. That's what a person of high character is. He helps those who needs his help. He extends himself to those less fortunate. He makes the world a better place by giving, not taking. And I can't say enough about the work he does. He's a millionaire, and yet last year built a halfway house for the poor, struggling and drug addicted women (and their children) in Nashville, TN.

So as I called him today, I asked about his son (my best friend). And of course, we talked for about 5 minutes. He had a gathering with his very large extended family this 4th of July. Then, he asked me, "How come you didn't come by?" I replied, "Well, I thought your son wasn't coming home from Afghanistan. I think he didn't tell me, what exactly what he was doing." But its all good though, he knows the work I do for my parents and understands the responsibilities that my "job" demands. Although, I might add, he thinks I can do much more than that. But who doesn't think that!? However, more importantly, as I've thought about our friendship over the years, I'm hoping that he too thinks I am a person (or student) of high character and that's why we've become good, maybe even great friends.

Side note: (The blurb/article below was actually the inspiration for this blog. With the Lakers on the verge of their 17th NBA Championship, more than a month ago, Phil Jackson talked about his thoughts on Derek Fisher.)

Coaching His Way, and It Works - NY Times.

June 12, 2009, after the NBA Finals, Game 4

In the moments after what looked like a Lakers miracle, someone asked Coach Phil Jackson to describe what has kept Derek Fisher gainfully employed as his starting guard, despite flaws that for so many others would forever be fatal.

Too old, at 34. Too small, at 6-foot-1. Too slow and stumpy at 200 pounds.

Jackson nodded slightly, an eyebrow rising, his mouth forming his trademark half-grin.

“Well, it’s character,” Jackson said. “We’ve always said that character has got to be in players if they’re going to be great players. You can’t just draft it. It’s not just about talent, it’s about character, and he’s a person of high character.”

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