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Learning Life Lessons through Guide work

Below is an essay that Bryan Goldstein wrote about his sister Robin. Remember that Robin raised Harold even though the entire family played a vital role in making Harold who he is today. This was very touching and I just received permission to post it here for all to read. Bryan, you are an incredible young man! Robin, with character like yours you will go far in life.

My little sister taught me everything I needed to know and she was only in eighth grade at the time. I may be an older brother by 17 months, but I must admit my younger sister has influenced my life the most. In my growing years, I was always the kid who messed around and enjoyed life rather than taking any piece of it seriously. My sister was the one who enjoyed life by getting involved in it. She was only in middle school when she decided to devote her time to raising guide dogs for the blind. She began her commitment by puppy sitting for others who were raising guide dogs and our family finally decided that she was so determined in her decision that we could not stand in the way.

Robyn brought home her first 6 week old puppy and began the process of waking early for feedings and potty training as well as training in proper behavior every minute of the day that summer. When school began, she determined to take him with her every day for socialization. Guide dogs have to be comfortable with being on duty for a blind person in spite of the confusion of the workplace. Therefore going to high school was as good a place as any for him to learn proper behavior. This decision of hers astonished me more than anything else because it’s not that easy to be completely different than everyone else in a school of 4,000 students. She reported getting weird looks and funny glances, but she said that it was simply part of the sacrifice that she was willing to make for another person’s life.

I think that it is fair to say that she is one of the most self-confident kids at our school these days. In a place where the majority is looking to fit in and at the same time looking for an identity, my sister has already figured it all out. Her identity is in making her own decisions and helping others. It was during this time that I began to realize that my sister and I were not that different at all. I recognized my own talents for helping others and I began to volunteer at the local retirement center playing the piano for senior citizens every Wednesday. I thought that giving to others would mean sacrifice, but I started to realize that it mostly means sharing your talents so that others find joy in their lives.

I am proud of my sister. She is now raising her third guide dog. I am also proud of myself. I have stopped looking to others for acceptance and I have begun reaching out to others who stand alone in the crowd. I believe that this is the greatest characteristic that I can bring to a college campus in order to make a difference. I am determined to bring joy to others through my love of music and performance, but I am also just as determined to help others find their gifts in order to find their own purpose. The minute that a person finds their unique gift to give back to the world, their life takes on a new dimension and meaning. My sister may be younger but she taught me the most important lesson of my life.