When I signed up to become a big brother in the Big Brother/Big Sister program, I did it for the same reason a lot of guys do: partly to help a child in need of a male role model, partly for an excuse to do fun stuff every week, and partly to get girls. There is no better pick-up line than telling a woman you're a big brother. Take it from me, it works a lot better than, "excuse me, miss, I seem to have misplaced my Congressional Medal of Honor."
Point is, I never intended to get as attached to my little brother as I did. I got matched with young Heinrich Soltow 12 years ago when I was living in Los Angeles and reporting for KCBS-TV.
He was a bright kid. Eventually, I found myself thinking of his future. I brought up college in conversation as frequently as possible. I thought he must go to college. How could anyone be successful without going to college?
Unfortunately, Heinrich turned out to be an epic underachiever. He barely made it through high school and failed out of college shortly after admission.
I'll be honest. I was disappointed. I thought Heinrich would never amount to anything.
"Little Brother" Off to War in Afghanistan
Now flash forward 10 years to the day my lawnmower broke down. I had it in and out of the shop a half a dozen times but it kept coming back to me with the same problem. No one could seem to figure out how to fix it. Then I heard about a lawnmower guy who specialized in just such cases. He was like the "Dr. House"of mowers. He fixed it. He was so proud of himself and took such pride in his work that it made me rethink my elitist definition of "success".=6279640x>
I now define professional success as finding a job your passionate about and doing it better than anybody. Now flash forward again to last week. I saw my little brother for the first time in 3 years and I'm proud to say that he is a success by anyone's definition.=6279640x>