Lives That Inspire – Educate Yourself
Inspiration is something I think most people need at some point. If I get into an exercising rut, I need to watch me some Jillian Michaels to motivate me to get off the couch. It works that way with many aspects of my life. Usually I’m a pretty self-motivated person but not always., especially to do things that fall outside of the ‘necessary’ category.
I need inspiration.
Sometimes it’s something simple like watching a Jillian Michaels workout DVD or reading a book like Man’s Search for Meaning. And sometimes it has to be something more than that.
I love reading about people’s lives that inspire me to be better, to do better, to become better. Real people, not celebrities. Although I am occasionally inspired by a famous someone’s story.
I find the inspiration that runs the deepest comes from my own family. Our ancestors make up who we are and what better place to find inspiration. Family stories that I’ve heard for a lifetime are ingrained in my memory and offer pieces of inspiration from experiences or challenges that my ancestors have overcome.
I think of my great grandmother that immigrated to the United States by herself, knowing she may never see her family again and she didn’t, to meet her fiancé who had come 2 years before. They married but within a few months her husband was killed and she was pregnant with their daughter. Tragic, yes. But she didn’t give up. She did what she had to do to support herself and her child. Later she remarried and raised 8 more children. Is it a grand exciting life? No. But it is real and inspirational none the less.
I strongly believe in the value of education. Not just formal education but continually educating oneself. It is part of my family history.
The life that inspires me to continue learning is my grandpa, my mother’s father.
He was the son of immigrants. In fact, his parents didn’t speak English and neither did he until he started school at age 5. He always had a slight accent to his speech. He grew up on a farm in Wisconsin where his family worked hard to make ends meet. He loved school but after 8th grade his father wanted him to quit to come work on the family farm full time.
My grandpa was devastated.
He loved to learn and did well in school. His teacher even came to his father and tried to persuade him to allow my grandpa to attend high school. But my great grandfather felt that, as the oldest son, it was my grandpa’s responsibility to help support the family.
Fast forward a few years, my grandpa was married and working as a barber. What he really wanted to do was become an engineer in the new field of aeronautics. He applied to a school in California that granted 2 year engineering degrees. With his poor educational background the school tried to steer him to the mechanics program. But my grandpa insisted that he wanted to try engineering. The school finally relented, fully expecting him to fail.
He worked hard.
He not only caught up with the other students but he excelled. With glowing recommendations he was hired at Boeing, where he worked for the next 35 years. He helped design all the Boeing jet airliners. He worked very hard at his job…but he was passed over for promotions because he did not have a 4 year college degree. Supervisors even told him they wanted to give him the promotions but they couldn’t because he didn’t have the degree the position required.
As you can imagine, education was very important in his family. Education is important in my family. Now that I am through with my formal education, I still feel that need and desire to learn to become better, to become more.
Like my grandpa.
Who inspires you in your family? I would love to read your story in the comments or contact me by email.