Earlier this year I was privileged to meet a lady (I'll call her Joan, not her real name!) who was very proud of the fact that she was 84 - in fact she repeated it numerous times, and not just in the way you'd expect from an elderly person with a lapsed memory! This lady had no memory loss - she been a teacher all her life and had a life long devotion to imparting her knowledge of what is sometimes a difficult subject for children - Latin. Despite being retired, she was often called upon to tutor children to help get them better results in their exams, and I had the pleasure of watching her in action.
So what inspired me about Joan?
1. her inspiration and ability to pass this on to the children, even when they were lukewarm about the subject - every boy would achieve 'A' stars!
2. her understanding and empathy - she took time to hear about why a child needed help and put herself into the child's shoes, so even though the subject matter was easy for her, she accepted each person was coming from a different place, with their own preferences and abilities.
3. her passion for her subject showed and this helped with building confidence that the children could learn to view the subject differently.
4. her understanding of how to get the children to concentrate, especially the need for a snack at the beginning of a lesson, that she insisted on providing! Children love that!
5. her belief that a bit of hard work would get results, irrespective of it being a bit painful along the way - the focus was on the result.
6. her humour meant that children would be endeared to her and would look forward to lessons, rather than seeing them as a drudge at the end of a school day
So what insights did I gain from meeting Joan?
1. to have a passion for what you do, whether it is a job, or a hobby, it keeps the mind active and young
2. to empathize with people who have a problem and put yourself in their shoes - how do they feel? what issues do they face?
3. to encourage, to motivate and to instill beliefs that we can achieve our goals with focus and effort
4. to look after our emotional health, be happy and eat healthy, with regular meals and snacks for focus
5. to aim for the stars and aim high - you can do it (no cant's!)
6. to keep a sense of humour even when things are difficult.
Finally, as a health professional, the main message for me is to enjoy every day life brings you and don't let age stop you from inspiring others no matter how young. What gems can you pass on to the younger generaltion?
Keep well and healthy!