There comes a time in everyone’s life when an unexpected hero comes along. No, they typically don’t fly faster than a speeding bullet and their armor isn’t in the form of a metal heart…but of perseverance, hard work, and integrity. As I reflect on the influence of so many around me, one silent hero comes in particular comes to mind.
Enter my childhood at the ripe age of 11. Boy was I awkward. I was the kid who believed stripes, stars and rain boots were a must. I was that kid who had countless arguments with my mom who refused to leave the house with me because of my fashion choices. I was that eclectic kid that you saw walking down the street and you would think yourself, “that baby dressed herself in the dark.” I called it fashion, sometimes, I still do. Tutus are still a must!
My mom grew tired of dealing with my mane. Or maybe she grew weary of the arguments that ensued around an 11 year old wanting to test new hair limits. She decided, it was time to enlist some help. I’m pretty sure I would’ve ended up on the 10 o’clock news suffering from a premature death for arguing another week about “my look.”
During this time, most of the hair stylist I knew were old, drab, and wanted to perm my curls! Hair shops were fragrant with pressed burnt hair and hair grease. My tweener hair suffered under their care. However, my mom assured me that this time around, it would be different. We were going to try out a new, young stylist who had a really great reputation.
I digress...we enter the salon and there I meet Uncle Devon. With a big smile and a kind heart, he welcomed me in. He patiently explained how I should care for my hair while recommending products that were a fit for my hair type. That day, he transformed that silly kid into a beautiful girl. Even if I was beautiful before that day, I am not sure if my perception aligned. He never knew.
A few years later, Uncle Devon opened his own salon. This was an exciting experience! He was the first person who looked like me that I knew with a business. The ambition was awe inspiring. While I never asked about the courage it took, I knew I was proud.
Lessons on hair care continued; however, deeper messages were articulated about love, community, break-ups, parenting, home renovation, home ownership, politics and the list goes on. The shop became a status quo of how I wanted to conduct my life as an adult. While my journey was different, the principles were the same. He never knew.
I can tell you first-hand, there was never a time Uncle Devon was not there for me silently in the corner. On my wedding day, he gave up his Father's Day with his family to make me a princess. When my father died, he washed my hair as tears flowed down my face for the funeral. He was always my first stop when I visited home from college. He was the extended family that I came to love and rely on. What a blessing. He never knew.
By now, you may wonder, what's the point? The point is, I've never told him. I never told Uncle Devon the influence he had over my life. He was simply being himself. He was living his purpose, defining his life and following his dreams. I simply observed, quietly taking notes along the way.
World changers, I am telling you this story because you don't always have to teach a direct lesson to have direct influence over someone's life. It could simply be the actions taken or the choices made. Everyone needs those strong influences around who may not come from home. It is paramount for our sugars to see these people. Uncle Devon was a person I would listen to even when I did not want to hear my mom. Through those awkward teenage years, he was there. Scolding me about my horrible first boyfriend, he was there. Meeting my husband and welcoming my child. He was there. He even does her hair now. I wonder if he has the same influence on her as he did on me.
I tell you world changers, raising sugars is not an easy task. And it truly takes those silent heroes to show up and do their part. Luckily for me, my silent hero was only a few years older than me. We will have many more years of laughter, tears, loss and learning. I hope that in my life I could have half the influence on someone that he has imparted on me.
Keep that in mind world changers when you act, do and live. Someone is watching. It is through your decisions that they will choose whether you are a person to be regarded as a silent hero.
Until the next time, take care. C