Mentored Tom Brokaw?
Brokaw is the former anchor and managing editor of NBC
He began his career in journalism after graduating from
the University of South Dakota in 1962, and has been
affiliated with NBC News for 30 years.
I never forgot Frances Morrow; she was emblematic of
what I think every schoolteacher should be. She spotted
me early on and encouraged me to read above my grade
level and to be imaginative in class, but at the same
time she paid attention to the others that were around
me and I was keenly aware of that--that she didn't just
spoil me. But I knew that I had her eye, and it gave
me confidence. I went back many, many years later to
take her to lunch and thank her for that time, and it
was as if we'd never left each other's side.
My parents were critically important to me. They both
grew up in a working class environment during the Great
Depression. They believed that the greatest rewards
for work well done was in a job well done. They had
a kind of inherent modesty about them. Not all of that
took--after all, I'm now a television anchorman--but
it always kept the public acclaim that I received when
I was in high school for achievements, at one time or
another, in the appropriate context.
This is a big, fast-paced world in which we live. Too
many kids fall through the cracks. Families have broken
up now, and those that haven't broken up, parents have
other priorities often. Both parents are working, and
they get home at different hours. We don't have that
"supper hour" as we used to call it in my
household, where everybody gathered around the table
at the same time, talked about the day, got in arguments,
watched the evening news. But we had that family time
in which we worked it all out. So I do think it's important
for kids to have some place, someone to turn to.
I don't think there's any richer reward in life than
helping someone. You can't measure it in money or fame
or anything else. But if we're not put here for anything
else but to help each other get through life, I think
that's a very honorable existence.