Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Inspirational

 Of course today here in the UK there is much in The Times about Captain Sir Tom Moore and his death at the week-end.   There is no doubt he was an inspiration, especially during a Covid pandemic - but I expect that throughout his life he was probably an inspiration to those who knew him well - his Obituary today reads of many inspirational doings from his role in the campaign in Burma in the Second World War to his devotion to his wife during her long illnes.

It got me thinking about Inspirational figures.   Does everyone have one?   How necessary are they in our lives and what kind of part do they play?

I certainly had a teacher who I found Inspirational.   In the days when I was at school (1937 to 1949) teachers were not allowed to  be married - you either stayed a spinster (or a bachelor) or left when you married.  I am presuming it applied to male teachers as well but thinking about it it may well not have done because I presume it was like this because the 'powers that be' thought of a woman's place as in the home, scrubbing the floors and bringing up the children - and having a plate of good wholesome food on the table for when 'hubby' came home.   We had one married teacher in our school - Mrs Lucas.  She was (we thought) terribly glamorous compared with the rest all women as it was a Girls' High School) - and she was a widow having lost her husband early in the war.

But my inspiration came from my English teacher (Miss Ryder) - I adored her and clung to her every word.   And I went on to study English eventually, qualified as a teacher and had a career in teaching ending up, having for some years been head of a unit for English as a Second Language, as Senior Mistress in a large Comprehensive School.   About, I suppose, thirty years ago, I had a Christmas Card from an old school friend who I had kept in touch with and she wrote that she had been to an old School Reunion and that Miss Ryder had been there.   Well into her nineties and as perky as ever, she was living in a Nursing Home.   She gave me the address and I wrote to her telling her how my career had developed and how it had largely been due to her inspiration.   I had a lovely letter back saying she remembered me and how pleased she was to hear from me.  It never does any harm to tell teachers this - they get plenty of criticism - a bit of praise goes a long way.

I tried to think of others who have had a real effect on my life.  I couldn't think of anyone in particular although I am sure there have been some people who have made at least a fleeting inspiration.   What about you?

28 comments:

elf said...

Love the story about Miss Rider. I’m glad you wrote to her!

Jennyff said...

Ditto, I adored my English teacher too and recently was in touch with her on her 90 birthday. She was thrilled I lived a lot of my time in Italy, told me she’s read Dante in its original form. She and her sister, both spinsters, both teachers but at different schools were dedicated women who spent their lives in education and must have influenced hundreds and hundreds.

Heather said...

I think my maternal grandmother influenced me probably more than my parents did though I loved them both. My father joined the Army in 1939 and we went to live with my mother's parents. My mother took a secretarial job and granny was always there when I got home from school. To me she seemed to be able to do everything. She kept goats and chickens, made bread, grew vegetables and flowers, knitted, stitched, made rag rugs. She loved her grandchildren and we loved her and had great times playing in her garden. I remember her telling us: I don't mind shouting but no screaming please!

thelma said...

I think my inspirational person would be my first father-in-law. He was kind and gentle but with a strong moral code. He was patient with my fatherless daughter and her cousin in the same predicament, spending time with both of them and entertaining them. Whenever I face a choice I think 'how would he have resolved it'.

Alice Cove said...

Glad you had an inspirational teacher, unfortunately not many in shitty rural secondary modern schools in the 50/60’s. I think the Grammar schools got all the decent teachers, we got the dregs. Cannot think of anyone who has inspired me at all. Why do you think we need inspiring? Alice Cove.

Derek Faulkner said...

I have never had the one inspirational person that no doubt others will comment about on here. People that have inspired me to a lesser degree, and there have been several, are those that have continued to believe in their own convictions, even when those who think they know better, have tried to derail such convictions by classing them as negative.

Unknown said...

My maternal grandmother comes to mind - a tiny but tough woman, she was a cleaner at the U. of Edinburgh until well into her 70's (she was always proud of the fact that she could lie about her age by at least 10 years and get away with it)! My grandfather had a breakdown during the war and it was left up to her to raise 6 children.
As for teachers, I will always remember Miss Young and Miss Edgecombe - both fostered my love for reading and for literature, and for a bit of adventure now and again.
One of the things helping me to get through lockdown is being able to return to volunteering as a facilitator to help others with conversational English. My church normally runs an evening where we get 70 to 80 people turn up but of course we've had to close. A few weeks ago we started up again via Zoom and now we have students zooming in from all around the world - some new ones and some returning. It is wonderful to see them and to hear their stories of what life has been like for them this past year.
Take care....

Debby said...

I don't know that I had someone who inspired me exactly. I had people who I admired greatly, people who truly were a bright spot in a difficult and violent childhood. To this day there are people whose example I try to follow. My sister's mother in law, as strange as it sounds. My sister. My husband's Aunt Anna and Uncle Herman. My husband himself. Yourself, even. Although we have never met, your practical nature is certainly something I try to incorporate into my own life. I think that is how the world is changed. We all try to provide a good example for the world around us, and person by person, the world becomes a better place.

Midmarsh John said...

My inspiration was from my A level pure maths teacher. Mr. Sleigh, affectionally known and Jingle Bells. His patience and technique was a model to follow when I became a teacher. If any student could not fully understand something he would work back through the processes until he found the last thing which was understood and then patiently work forwards again.

One whose memory amazed me was Miss Marshall. She and her mother ran a small private school I attended from about 4.5 to 6 yrs old. One day, when I was about 14 as she passed me riding her 'sit up and beg' bicycle she stopped and addressed me by name although I must have changed in appearance over the years.

Bonnie said...

I read about the loss of Captain Sir Tom Moore. He certainly was an inspirational person. Pat, I think you are an inspiration to most of your readers!

Rachel Phillips said...

It is not a concept that I have ever aspired to nor particularly gel with in any way, shape or form. I had teachers who taught well but inspired? Not a concept I understand.

Derek Faulkner said...

Well, Rachel answered it far better than I did and I agree with her.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Interesting from your comments that not all of you see any need to be inspired. I would agree with you but that doesn't necessarily mean that we don't meet somebody who we suddenly realise (maybe in later years) was indeed an inspiration - and if so then it does no hard to tell them so. Maybe it depends what we mean by inspiration. Where does admiration end and inspiration begin I wonder.

The Feminine Energy said...

I'd have to say that probably the most inspirational and influential people in my life were my parents... and my aunts & uncles too. They molded me, they formed me, they inspired me to do & be the best I could possibly do & be. ~Andrea xoxo

busybusybeejay said...

Whenever I can say thank you I do.The postman knocked yesterday with a parcel and when I opened the door,at a social distance,told him how we really appreciate what he is doing delivering Mail to umpteen houses.If I get a good delivery then I send an email thanking them.They usually appreciate it especially in these difficult times.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

I think you're right in that it was only female teachers who did not marry. It no longer applied when I was at school in the 50s and 60s, but the idea lived on when I was at primary school in that all women teachers were called "Miss" even when they were married. In fact that was still the case in the 90s when I did teacher training; I well remember the embarrassment of children who called me "Miss" by mistake. On one occasion a young girl called me "Mum" - I was very flattered!

gmv said...

My first grade teacher, Ms. Hample, stands out in my memory because she was the teacher that taught me to read. I read all the Dick, Jane and Sally books over and over that first year. To this day reading gives me great pleasure and I am so happy that I passed this pleasure for books to my son and daughter. They are now adults in their 40s and have vast libraries of their own.

Deb Terry said...

My grandparents were very inspirational to me.. Their love for each other inspired me to search for my own true love... and i found him.. been married going on 32 years...

my 12 grade conservation teacher... helped nurture my love of animals and nature.. and protecting both..

My boss from a few years ago Ms. Josephine.. Inspires me to speak up.. to be brave and not always my quiet reserved self.. and always always be kind..


Great post Pat! Hugs! deb

Susan said...

Does inspiration mean following a course of action one might not have done without the example of someone else? It is the way I would define it. I try to refer to the example of my Quaker grandfather and his sisters in the way I approach my life. I don't have the discipline or nature to master the art of living a good life as they did but it is an aspiration. I am exceedingly grateful to have had them in my life and I think it rather sad for a person not to be open to the possibility of inspiration. I must also mention my Sunday School teacher who was unfailingly kind to me.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Susan -- I do agree with what you say - I think it all depends upon what we mean by the word 'inspiration'. FOR EXAMPLE CAN WE BE INSPIRED TO














Susan I think you are absolutely right. It all depends upon what we understand the word to mean. Can we in fact be inspired to write or paint by being inspired by a particular writer or artist? And if not then what is the word we would use instead.





John you had every right to be flattered. Thanks everyone.




Red said...

I'm thrilled to bits when any former student makes contact. Since I still live in the area I have some former students as neighbors. It's very satisfying to see them . I won't let them call me Mister anymore.

Joanne Noragon said...

Well, I certainly have a deal to think about.

thousandflower said...

My oldest daughter is a teacher and she has had students come back to tell her she was important to them. I know it makes her glad.

Cro Magnon said...

My Art Teacher was a wonderful man. One day he suddenly hit me around the head totally by surprise, and it almost floored me; somehow I forgave him. I met him in the street many years after I'd left school, and informed him that I'd been awarded a 1st Class Hons degree in Fine Art. I was expecting him to show some sign of pleasure, but I think he was suffering from Dementia, and it drew a blank.

Librarian said...

My parents were and are the two people who influenced me most in my life, and in the best possible ways.
My Mum's work place was our school's library from when I was 9 years old, and it was helping there some afternoons and often during school holidays that inspired me to become a librarian. My Dad taught me lots about nature, and my love of walking and hiking was started early on when our parents took me and my sister out; we learned to appreciate our immediate environment, notice small details that others would maybe pass. Also, there were always stacks of books at home, and plenty of good music to listen to. They have both been doing their bit for the community, too, volunteering with various organisations in our town.
Last but not least, my parents have a stable marriage - they have been together since my Mum was 16 and my Dad 18.

the veg artist said...

Not a teacher, but a great-aunt who is always at the edge of my thoughts. She lost her husband in WWI, but just carried on, as women had to. She made me realise that I could always manage on my own if I had to, which I have at times.

Carruthers said...

A teacher - Alan Roberts. He showed me that culture mattered, that artists (in all disciplines) are there to reveal things to us, not merely to entertain us.

And Paul Foot. I was lucky enough to rub shoulders with him regularly for a while. He showed me that politics mattered.

I think I knew both these things but both these people helped me make sense of them and appreciate their importance.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Seems plenty of you have had an inspirational figure in your lives - interesting to read about them. Thanks for sharing.