Who Inspired You?
Who are the people that have impacted your life in a profound way? Is there a teacher, pastor, coach, or relative that comes to mind that encouraged and helped guide and inspire you to become who you are today?
I have been blessed by a number of people that really stand out in my mind as helping to inspire me. They never gave up on me. They saw my potential and challenged me to give my best.
With everything going on today, I’d like to take some time to cheer on our teachers, while also inspiring all of us to remember the difference and impact we can make on others’ lives for their good.
There were three teachers throughout my elementary and secondary education that really made a difference for me.
The first was my grade two teacher. My Papa (grandfather) had passed away a month before school began. I was devastated. He was not only my Papa. He was my best friend. It was the hardest death I had faced yet. My parents contacted my teacher and let her know what she was up against. I was quiet and reserved. Already being a shy child, I withdrew that much more. But that didn’t intimidate Mrs. Bosveld.
She knew my Papa and the great man that he was. She took that opportunity to connect with me. She saw my heart for wanting to serve others and used that to help rebuild confidence in me. She gave me little tasks throughout the day to do for her. It made me feel noticed and so special. She wrote me encouraging notes, helping me to want to work hard. She gave me breaks to bring drinks out to her husband that was making an environmental centre for the students of the school to learn and explore. She took one of my hardest years and made it one of the best. She challenged me and brought life into a dark time.
I didn’t forget that as I grew. That enjoyment for serving others and helping only flourished. She showed me that we can take pleasure out of simple things in life.
Mrs. Bosveld also started an intrigue in me for exploration. She and her husband made a little wooden car for the kids in her classroom. She put a slide projector in the trunk of it and made the windshield white so that pictures of their travels across Canada would show on the window. We could take turns at the station to pretend we were driving across Canada. I was fascinated by all the pictures of huge mountains and the beautiful ocean. She built an excitement for travel and adventure in our classroom as she taught us all about the beauty that surrounds us in nature.
Another was my grade seven teacher, “Ms. Mac”, also known as Ms. MacTavish. My brother and I both had her. Let’s just start by saying that grade seven is a tough year for all teachers. There’s so many hormones and girl drama involved! But Ms. Mac handled it all like a champ. She made class fun and engaging. She was hard when she needed to be, but made her lessons interesting. She knew the students that liked to work hard. Because of that, she let us feel like we were getting away with stuff even though she knew exactly what was going on at all times. She’d give us independence and was patient when working through friend issues.
I admit that I was a bit dramatic back then. I had some anger issues I needed to work on. But Ms. Mac was always patient and had a caring heart. She’d listen and help me process through things. A lot of teachers didn’t want to deal with it and would make me feel bad for my emotions and overcompassionate heart. But Ms. Mac knew I never meant ill-intent. She knew that she could say things straight up with me because I respected her. I’d take her advise and try again. I felt safe and noticed in her classroom, valued and appreciated. When a teacher showed that they cared about me, I wanted to do my best for them.
I never wanted to go to high school. I wanted to skip right over it and go to college. I didn’t see the point in learning a bunch of things I’d never use in life, or so I thought at the time. I didn’t want all the high school drama or pressure. I had a thirst to learn and wanted to focus solely on that.
Thankfully, I made it through most of my high school education pretty well. I found a really great friend that made daily school life fun. Then I came into Ms. A’s English class and my enjoyment of education and learning was piqued. Ms. Alexander wanted change herself. She saw that our high school was primarily sports driven but there were many students that didn’t have interest or make the cut for the teams. Instead, they were a bunch of listless farm kids bored with life. There were deep hurts and struggles that they were facing and she wanted to make a difference in their lives. And she most certainly did.
Ms. Alexander made English fascinating to me. She pushed our class beyond our limits expecting college and university type work to be handed in. She was a part-time college professor on the side, so she taught us how to properly research and write essays that were way above our standards.
She brought Shakespeare to life by creating fun projects for us to do. She forced us to read the books ourselves rather than reading them in class. Then we had more time to delve into the topics discussed in the books and create debates over it.
Ms. Alexander also started a literature club that had us reading one book each month from a different culture. Our group would get together to have a conversation about the things we were learning in it, as well as gain a better understanding of the culture around the book. Having traveled most of the world herself, she brought in artifacts and photos of her trips. Then we’d go to a restaurant in the city from that culture or bring food in that allowed us to get the tastes and smells of it.
Having her push and challenge me beyond my comfort grew a love in me for English and cultures. I fell in love with reading and writing. I studied Shakespeare’s writings and went to his plays in Stratford, ON. I also grew a love for traveling.
Each of these teachers taught me to explore life. They invested their hearts and time into me, teaching me to work through challenges and see the potential I have to grow. They pushed me beyond what I thought I was capable of. They fostered a passion for learning. I gained a thirst for adventure and traveling. Combining that with my heart for helping others, it drew me into serving in missions and ministry. Now I have Hope Through Hard Times. All of these teachers have helped guide me to this moment in my life.
And it makes me think – what kind of an impact am I leaving on others? Am I inspiring and challenging people to grow and learn? Am I building them up and helping them see the potential they have? Am I pointing them to Jesus?
How about you? What impact are you making in someone’s life? Who helped you become who you are today?