4 thoughts on “Who Inspires You?”

  1. First off, I am inspired by my wife. Rebecca urges me to appreciate each day we are given and to not be overly-concerned with the past. What’s done is done. Importantly, she lives the advice she gives.

    Second, I am inspired by the agrarian author, Wendell Berry, who amongst many things teaches us what it means to eat responsibly and how to respect place.

    And third, I’d say I am really inspired by my colleagues, who continually work for justice and set an example for me each and every day.

  2. I was — and still am — inspired by the (late) associate dean of my college; specifically, a conversation I had with him in January 1990. I had been at best an indifferent student, and indeed, literally tried to sleep through an entire semester without attending classes during my sophomore year. The assistant dean of my college, after hearing my appeal to not be placed on a semester’s suspension, decided to let me continue — on probation. He explained to me that the four years I had at university were the most privileged years of my life, in which I would have time and leisure to explore as much of the world’s accumulated wisdom as I possibly desire. He specifically mentioned Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad, and spoke to me about the concept of shame. Following college, he concluded, the opportunity I was wasting would be gone forever. Was I, he asked, so immature so as to not recognize what treasures I was turning my back on…for sleep?
    I went on — despite a transcript marred by a very, very bad semester — to over a decade of graduate education in three different fields, and taught philosophy and history at the university level for eight years. I learned and continue to use multiple languages. And I treasure the texts that I studied and taught, and all that I have learned from them. The conversation I had with this person 28 years ago changed the way I view the world in a matter of moments: I am a completely different person because of his words, and his example.

    1. That’s a wonderful and very personal story. Thank you for sharing. Sometimes in life we are lucky enough to meet people who help us to break out of the limitations we place on ourselves. I have had those experiences, too, and am very thankful to certain teachers, family members and friends who helped me see life in a new way and change old patterns of behavior. Those memories inspire me to try and live up to their hopes for me, and perhaps even to be that person for someone else.

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