There is a lesson here for all of us but particularly young people. Choose your friends carefully. Your friends will influence you more than anyone in your life outside of your family. If you are young, that influence can carry into adulthood. You don’t need friends who behave badly. Life is not a popularity contest. We all need to understand that. Doing the right thing is what is important.
Buster’s been gone for 45 years, but he positively influenced more people than any young person I ever knew.
My brother Bob says Buster was as "tough as nails" on the athletic field, and he would stand up for anybody. The other day, someone told me that Buster was a kid who would protect a person from a Bully.
The kind of quiet toughness Buster had was an attribute that people admired. He’d not only stand up for anybody, he’d stand up to anybody when it was the right thing to do.
Toughness must be used correctly. Whether you are a man or a woman, a girl or a boy, toughness, both physical and mental, is important, and it can be learned on athletic fields, in libraries or in school labs.
Tough doesn’t mean acting tough, it means having toughness when you need it. Toughness in a crises, toughness like these people in uniform have, toughness to resist going along with something you know is wrong. Toughness often means going further than you thought you could go. When a problem or situation confronts you that takes more than you think you have, that’s the time to persist and persist. I never saw Buster quit.
How did I know Buster so well? Our house was on Buster’s way to high school, and he’d drop by to hop a ride with my brother Bob. Immediately, he felt as much at home in our kitchen as we did. He'd usually get there while Bob was still upstairs and would pop bread into the toaster and sit there munching until he was joined by Bob or the rest of the family.