In Memory Of Dr. Harry A. Becker

Author: Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

This is one of the stories my Dad loved to tell, even when he was gravely ill and in the hospital.

When my father went to camp at age 12, he was voted:
·The laziest
·The least deserving.
·The least likely to succeed.

Perhaps this was because he was tall and placed with boys several years older than he. Ironically, he was probably the least lazy, the most deserving, and one of the most successful people I have ever known. My Dad was a loving husband, a loving father, and certainly a loving son. Beyond these roles and all of his connections with others, I believe he was an encourager of the human spirit. He was a realist who truly saw untapped potential in everyone who crossed his path--even me!

I remember him saying that persistence and perspiration would help me meet my goals. He loved to explain that most accomplishments are "Ninety-nine percent perspiration and one percent inspiration." For example, when I was a teenager he would help me wake up at 5:00 AM if I had homework to finish. "Take a shower, have something to eat and then get back to task." He was always there to ease my burden but not take it away. My responsibilities were my own to meet, not his. How could he be helpful but not do my job--Proofreading? Driving me to school late? Brainstorming a topic? He never however, did work for me--it was mine to do. Like all good teachers he never promised that he could remove my pain. He taught that I could live with the pain and get beyond it.

He was always my teacher. He taught me how to polish my shoes and to count my packages as I shopped so I would know how many things I had with me. Above all he taught me determination. Never give up. You can do it!

A perfect example was my first year at teaching. I had a difficult child in my large class of second graders. My discipline was going down the drain. I felt overwhelmed. Dad suggested that I go to my principal and ask to have the child moved to another classroom, where there was a more experienced teacher. "Dad," I asked, "How can I do that?" "You can and you should," He replied, "Why should you carry a load that will set you up for failure your first year?" Reluctantly, I went to the principal. He was a bit miffed but he did transfer the child and I had a great teaching experience.

My "pater" was also a teacher by example. The last few months of his life, my father reinforced that object lesson, by never giving up and by always maintaining his dignity, his smile, his wave of encouragement, and even his sense of humor. How ironic, even laughable, was the vote that he received in camp!

Joanne Yelenik, the daughter of Harry Jackson, one of my father's favorite cousins, talks about a wise woman who commented that when a great person dies we should go out and grab the sparks that his soul gives off, once he is finally freed from the constraints of illness. My Dad would want you to grab the enthusiasm that he felt toward each of us, the potential in each of us. He would want us to grab his sense of commitment and run, but like a true teacher, in the end he would leave you alone to discover that although this faith and connection to each of us is with us forever, your success is your own!

Remember dear Enchanted Self readers—the ball is in your court. Go and run with it, keeping your capacity for a positive attitude alive and strong by remembering:

·The glass is half full.
·You are unique.
·You have untapped potential.
·The world needs your gifts.
·The Joy Ride is waiting for you.

About the Author

Dr. Holstein is the originator of The Enchanted Self and a psychologist since 1981. She is the author of two books: The Enchanted Self, A Positive Therapy and Recipes for Enchantment, The Secret Ingredient is YOU!
Dr. Holstein speaks on radio, and appears on television in NY and NJ. She gives lectures, seminars, retreats and audio interviews on and is in private practice in Long Branch, NJ with her husband, Dr. Russell Holstein.


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