BOSTON (CBS) – What life lessons do we learn from the Tom Menino story?
For starters, the value of humility.
As a young man, Menino saw plenty of bigtime politicians go bust because their success inflated their egos to the point where they became entitled. In some cases, that led to greed, corruption, and self-destruction; in others, to unchecked ambition that led them to neglect the good jobs they already had in pursuit of jobs they weren’t qualified for.
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Menino never made those mistakes.
He focused on the job at hand, loved it, lived it, and knocked it out of the park by any reasonable measure. If there’s another big-city mayor who’s been in office for two decades with less corruption and neglect, I haven’t heard about it.
Another Menino lesson – bigger isn’t necessarily better.
Boston has thrived because Menino, following the example of Ray Flynn, prioritized the unglamorous work of making sure the city’s neighborhoods had decent parks, public services, and thriving commercial centers.
The big-money precincts downtown and in the Seaport would, and did, take care of themselves, more or less. But walk around any Boston neighborhood and ask the people who live there if Menino has made life better.
And a third Menino life lesson – loyalty matters, loyalty to your family, your friends, your neighbors, your principles.
Set those at the center of your world and you too might one day be able to make the agonizing call to walk away from your dream career secure in the knowledge that you will be loved and esteemed as much out of power as you were in power.
Mayor Menino, thanks for the memories, and the lessons.
You were never a fancy talker.
But you turned out to be a mighty fine teacher.
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