Sunday, April 05, 2009

What Inspires Me?

Olivia, over at Liv's Blog, tagged me in her What Inspires Me post. Liv starts out with, "What is your inspiration? What gets you moving? …gets you through the days? ..."

I started to leave this in her comments, and then found myself doing some real soul searching and realized this was going a little deep, expecially in the final paragraph. So, I decided to move it over here. So here goes, Liv. Not sure if this is what you were looking for, but here's what I've got:

Gosh, what inspires me? That’s a tough one because I’m involved in such a variety of other things that I look to many different people for inspiration. There are also times when I need the inspiration more than others, and thank goodness for certain people in my life.

Liv tagged me as a “hockeymom,” which is interesting to me because that is the part of my life that is (sadly) quickly coming to an end. My kids started playing when they were each four years old and they are now 19 and 16. The inspiration to get up and bring them to the rinks at 4:30am on Saturdays and Sundays came from the enjoyment my husband and I gleaned from watching them play and bond with their teammates. Traveling with the other hockey families to small towns around the country and Canada was inspirational as well, because my kids otherwise would not really get a clear picture of the world simply living in the white-washed, upper middle-class city of Boca Raton, Florida. The photo to the left is my husband and me on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa.

What inspires me to be just a mom, is my mother-in-law. She is the sit-on-the-floor, let’s-play-scrabble, type of grandmother to my kids. She has never a bad word to say about anyone and everyone is always welcome in her home. She is interested in everything anyone has to say and is truly a great role model for me and my children as well. My father-in-law passed away over a year ago, but he too was the ultimate father and grandfather. We all miss him tremendously, but that is the legacy he has left. For both my husband and myself, we have modeled our marriage after theirs and we believe our kids will grow up with a healthy view of marriage because of it. A rare thing these days. (Photo on the right is my mother-in-law and my oldest son.)

What inspired me as a classroom teacher? For 20 years I was a classroom teacher and there were a few role models I looked to for inspiration. One in particular, who sometimes reads this blog, keeps up with current trends and is not afraid to try new things. She spends hours with the kids individually and always understood each child in a way that I only hoped to figure out myself. Another, who became a principal before she retired, always found time for the class shows and projects and taught me that it is those things that will be the true learning opportunities for the students. That is when I first started to use the worksheets and workbooks as scratchpaper. (Picture to the left is me and a few of my first grade students in 1988. We used a dial up connection and AOL email to exchange emails with the Olympic athletes in Seoul Korea. It was the first time the Olympic Athletes had access to email kiosks in the Olympic Village. We got a lot of responses and posted them to a wall map.)

As for what inspires me to be good at my current job? Over the last few months, I’ve been seeking that inspiration, yet have come up empty. Not because there aren’t inspirational people around me, there are. But it has been a very stressful few months with some big projects. Although the projects are now over, I’m still having trouble getting over the stress. I find myself making impulsive decisions and doing and saying things I shouldn’t say. I guess I don’t do stress well. I tend to be a perfectionist and can be very hard on myself; never truly being satisfied with the outcome of something I’ve created or something I’ve been responsible for. Those I work with are very supportive, even when I screw up. My boss is extremely understanding and has a knack for truly choosing his battles and letting most things go. When necessary he may call something to my attention and then he lets it go. Of course, I’M the one who beats myself up. So TYPICALLY, at work, I’m inspired by those who I work with who can let things roll off their backs. I’m inspired by those who can stand up and speak in front of a crowded room with no preparation and sound incredibly articulate. I’m inspired by those who come to work every day and can be positive and happy and get over stress really quickly. HOWEVER, at this moment in time… I can’t see through the fog to notice anyone there right now. I know things will work out and will be fine. I'm looking forward to that day, hopefully sooner than later.

And so Liv, since you tagged me, I thought I’d respond; from my heart.

~Lee

5 comments:

mantz's_mission said...

This is another great insight to who you are and what drives you as a professional and parent. Thanks for sharing. By the way, I find it very ironic topic for this is the same one that Tim Holt and I have exchanged blog posts about.

Keep the great posts and showing coming!

Lee Kolbert said...

Dean,
I'd love to read the posts you are referring to. Can you post the links? Thanks for commenting. ~Lee

Louise Maine said...

As another person who is never satisfied with my work, I can relate. I have been in a strange place since moving back to my old hometown 10 years ago. My exuberance has faded over time and confidence and inspiration is lacing. i am not going to find it too many other places, so maybe need to learn how to cultivate it in myself this time. This may be the next stage of learning for me.

keepingkidsfirst said...

Thanks so much for sharing these. They are wonderful, and I love how you talked about your inspiration in different parts of your life. Inspiring in and of itself!

Nan10 said...

I appreciate your thoughts on what inspires you. I can relate to so much of what you said. My husband is such an inspiration and encouragement to me.
Also, the summer reading list is a great idea...