Episode 33

Who Inspired You?

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I wanted to talk to you about that defining moment in life that changes us, where everything seems to come together. For me, it was my 6th-grade teacher, Irving Bernstein. He was a charming young man probably no more than 40 years old, (although he was ancient to me as a 6th grader), and I remember a week that I was out sick for a few days, and we received a call at home. Well, kids don't usually receive calls at home from their teachers, and it was Mr. Bernstein. He wanted to make sure that I was fine and coming back to school because he said I was a really special student. I knew I wasn't academically or athletically gifted compared to other kids in my class. In fact, Mr. Bernstein was probably just being kind, but he put into my head that I was special, and it really made all difference. I was wondering if you have a special story or moment that inspired you, something that clicked in your life because someone did something wonderful for you in some way. Perhaps your story can inspire someone else. Do you have an inspirational story to share? I'd love to hear it.   

Your stories

  1. My Hero. My Mom!

    by Rose
  2. Just hold my hand

    by Josephine
See All
  1. My Hero. My Mom!

    by Rose My mom all through my life. Even when we did not see "eye to eye". Was always such a positive role model for me! She came from a severe abusive homelife, as a child. Her husband's were abusive, mentally, as well as physically. My mom was told by the family MD. To put me in a "home" because they believed I was spastic, and delayed. My mom. Taught all 4 of her kids to read, write, and basically we were ahead of many of our classmates. She worked, long hard hours. Mainly as a waiteress, to take care of us. My problem is the following: Since my mom died in 1998. My Sister, as well as my older Brother. Have gone into this whole LIE regarding how horrible and trashy she was! It breaks my heart. I want to know how to stop the slander that falls from their mouth! I love your show! I was studying to eventually get my Law degree. I have Parkinson's, so please forgive the TYPO'S! You rock Judge Judy!
  2. Just hold my hand

    by Josephine I was 6 years of age having my first of many polio operations at the NY Hospital for Special Surgery in 1951. Mom, Dad and I traveled by bus & train from Brooklyn, NY to get there. I was terrified when finally wheeled into the OR. I began to cry and say "I'm afraid". A woman's black hand reached for my little hand and quieted my little shaking body. Never knew who this angel was, but now at 68, I continue to bless her. I became a child advocate, a patient representative and an OR patient manager, all thanks to that wonderful black hand of love.
  3. Cohee Inspired Me

    by Ginger When I was 13 we moved into a new home in Albuquerque, that meant new school, new friends, new neighborhood, new everything, The lady across the street was named Cohee. Cohee was married, in her 50s and she worked full time. For some reason beyond me, she took interest in a tall skinny awkward little girl too shy to even say her own name. As we got to know each other, I would spend time over at her house; she always took time to encourage me . Since I was taller than most of my classmates, I would hunch my shoulders to make myself appear smaller. I didnt realize I was doing this until she gently placed the palm of her hand in my middle back and told me to stand up straight and hold my head up. She told me I was pretty and to be confident when I stand or walk. I was so grateful she took an interest in an awkward little girl. Today Cohee is 99 and I am 62. We are still friends. She was and is an amazing and wonderful lady.
  4. First Job

    by Valerie I was 15 years old and got a job in the local market. My boss had me stocking shelves and general cleaning. She told me she would train me to work the cash register and work the meat / deli counters. Then she hired another young lady who was 16. The other girl was immediately being trained for the register and the meat / deli counters. I remember dusting and cleaning in the store room and getting more and more upset. Telling myself this must be all she believes I can do - feeling sorry for myself. Then she came to tell me to go to lunch... I turned and told her, "I QUIT!" I left for lunch and told my Mom all about it. My mother told me to go back to work after lunch; ask for my job back; and prove I am the best duster/cleaner ever! I did. I have maintained that work ethic of doing my best. The other girl quit - I was her head cashier and counter person when I quit to go in the military at age 17. I'll never forget that life lesson.
  5. My dad

    by Aaron My dad had to leave home once for special reasons, and he met someone different. He told me to look after my family, and I've always kept to it. He also taught me that being kind and generous pays off in being happy. He taught me about things like forgiveness and kindness to strangers which I've never forgotten. Thank you for reading this guys :)
  6. A Left-handed Inspiration

    by Michelle In the 8th grade, I had some trouble at home, became somewhat depressed, and didn't really care about my looks. Tracy came up to me when I was swinging and said, "Why don't you wash your hair?" The next day when I saw her, I told her I washed it, and she replied, "Good, why don't you try brushing it now!" So, I started making sure my hair looked okay before school. When I tried to talk to Tracy after that, she said to me, "I was only teasing you before, but I don't like you for real now." Then one day when we were standing in line at the classroom door, two of the boys were calling Tracy "ugly" and making fun of her, so I told them to leave her alone because she hadn't done or said anything to them. Well, she called me an "angel" and we suddenly became friends. As strange as it sounds, I really liked that girl. She taught me that if I respected others and acted with integrity, even when they had insulted me, that I could earn people's respect.
  7. Who Inspired Me

    by Cynthia I grew up as a normal kid until the age of three when I started having issues with holding my food down. I went to the doctor, and he kept telling my Mom, don't worry and kept giving me antibiotics. It didn't work. Then my Mom noticed I wasnt hearing her as well and found that when she raised her voice, I would smile. Finally, my Moms friend told her to take me to another doctor, and he knew right away what was wrong. I had childhood celiac disease (gluten-free). By the time they found out, I lost 80% of my hearing. I had somehow taught myself to lipread, so I was able to progress better because of that. Long story short...my Mom had to fight with some teachers that said I needed to be in a special school for the deaf....she said NO! Every year, she had to educate a new teacher, and I had to also educate everyone I met on how to talk to me. My Mom inspired me because she let me decide what I couldn't or could do. She would let me try everything, and I made the choice on what I wanted to do.
  8. WHO should inspire us?

    by Lee Between Judge Judy and this fellow - we should all be headed in the right direction: "There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult." ---Warren Buffett
  9. People who define me

    by Shirley When I was growing up the person who define me first was my mom. She did everything to help my dad put a roof over our heads and food on the table. My mom, a grand old soul, baked goods for people, help people out by listening to their problems, did sewing for her customers, took in borders and then convinced my dad to get a job in a store where she was well liked. My mom was a rock of Gibraltar, pillar of the community. When I was going thru a divorce my other mentor was Judge Judy. Thru her I learned to stand up for myself from all kinds of abuse and learned what I could do with the law. I learned how to speak to people just like Judge Judy. The two women who shaped my life was my mom and Judge Judy to what I am today. For that I am very grateful. Thank you, Shirley
  10. Who inspired me?

    by Kelly Ever since I was a little girl, I've had learning disabilities. People (other students, teachers...) didn't really try to help me learn because I learned differently and I needed explanations for everything ("Why is it this way and not that?"). I tried my best to learn and not to give up until I understood, but I allowed myself to be walked on and invisible. Honestly, I know you probably get this a lot Judge Judy.. But you and my mother (who also loves you) have inspired me to push through the hard times and never give up! I am proud to say I have graduated elementary, middle and high school and I am a licensed cosmetologist! I love my career! I am very proud of myself and all that I have accomplished! My next big dream is to meet you one day!!Kelly - p.s. I am also now married and expecting our first child!
  11. A True Family Friend I Will Never Forget

    by Kate I had a family friend who had breast cancer three times. It came back for the fourth time which was in the summer of August 2012, she was trying to fight for a fourth time, then after it became the New Year 2013 the cancer got worse two days after New Years Day. Then April came and on April 23rd 2013 she passed away. When she was alive she always cared for so many people, like family and I felt like I was a daughter of hers, because of her generosity and she always treated me without asking my mom. She has three wonderful kids and a wonderful husband who is a great father to them. I brought her prayer card to my college house because she was a very important person who also gave really great advice no matter what situation happened to anyone.
  12. Substitute Teacher

    by David In seventh grade, my family moved to a different part of the school district. I quickly learned that a substitute teacher I had known since first grade lived nearby. She and her husband wanted someone to walk their dog, so they hired me. It was my first job, and I made $2 a walk. After walking the dog, I would spend time with my teacher and her husband, listening to their stories and wisdom. A lifelong teacher, she told me of her amazing experiences in the classroom with students over the years. Her husband, a Vietnam vet, had many riveting stories about his time defending our country. I spent countless hours at their house, amazed by all they had seen and done. It was this woman's influence and love for her profession that made me want to become a teacher. I am currently in college to become a middle school English teacher, which never would have occurred to me if it wasn't for her. Always show love and respect to substitute teachers. They just might change the course of your life.
  13. A Foster Care Child, A Special Teacher

    by Aaron 1999 was a harrowing year for me. I was five years old, and had been the only child taken from a family home of two brothers (one of them, my twin) and mother. Foster care was a daunting place, and rejection from every mainstream school in the city was a hindrance for the adults around me. I eventually was placed in an emotional-behavioral unit where I was to do my primary schooling. It took a while for me to settle in. On my second year there, I was placed with an experienced teacher by the name of Mr.McEvoy. This wonderful man, probably knew I wasn't the most academic student in his group - but he took me under his wing. The greatest skill he gave me, was the gift to read and write. Within a year, I could successfully string a sentence together, and was reading his own personal literature. I wish I could write more, but like you Judy, he gave me the feeling that I was "special". When the end of my primary school days came - he wrote on my shirt: "Aaron you are very special".
  14. My inspiration..

    by Chris I had a college professor who taught comparative anatomy and laboratory. She noticed during lab that I was using a scalpel to dissect versus scissors as the rest of the students. A few days later, she pulled be aside and said "I noticed how precise your dissections are, I have a job cooperative opportunity for someone like you". It was assisting a pathologist, where I learned an unbelievable array of things and was inspired to pursue my career as a healthcare professional. I can't thank that professor enough, cause that very same day, I was considering withdrawing from the university and pursuing other opportunities. Half way through my professional career, I can't thank professors who notice someone such as myself enough. I have a life ling friendship with that professor to this day. She never had children and is like a grandmother to my daughter. What an inspiration!
  15. Having Good Caring Inspiring Folk in Life

    by Amatullah As a young child I was always care-free and loving. I felt special because of the love and attention I got-not necessarily from my mom and dad, but from others, like my first grade teacher who gave me my first set of instructions. She was tough, but yet very loving as I have always been. School started when I was almost seven, being that my birthday was in December and I had to wait for my sixth birthday. So I work with my mother picking cotton for a living in S.C. Like any other child I loved playing all day, especially with my brother since my half sister stuck under mom all the time. My childhood was full of love from my aunts and uncles. They made me feel loved. My dad too, loved me a lot. I was his lil baby girl. When growing up, reaching teen-age and beyond my relatives and friends believed in me and would always tell me to continue to be as sweet and jolly as you can be; some told me that I can be what- ever I wanted to be. I sort of knew that I truly hold the key of success.
  16. My Sixth Grade Teacher

    by Janice His name was Mr. Hawkins. I'll never forget his name or the kind deed he did for me when I was a student in his class. I had not been in school for about a week because I didn't have shoes to wear. I was child number seven out of nine in our household. I don't know what prompted me to do it but I decided to write a letter to my class to let them know that I was alright and I would be back to school as soon as I got a new pair of shoes.. I gave it to another classmate on her way to school that day and asked her to read to the class. Well she did exactly as I asked her to. Later that day my mom received a phone call from Mr. Hawkins. All I heard her say was Yes sir, that will be fine. A few minutes later Mr Hawkins was at my house. He took me Hogans Department Store (which was something like Macy's back in the day). He bought me not one but two pairs of shoes! I was back in the class the next day. I never forgot that kind deed because it made me feel as though my teacher cared about me.
  17. I am a fighter because of Mom

    by Cheryl My Mother was my inspiration because she was a fighter she never gave up, My Dad was a hard working man but he had some medical conditions that made him very ill sometimes, My Mom being the fighter that she was always was there for him I saw the love between . them. My Mom always took care of us she would work come home cook clean do laundry and to me she never seemed to get tired, I am sure she did but my Brother and I never saw that she always had time to spend with us ,She made me the person I am today, kind loving and a fighter never give up life is hard but I try to see the good instead of the bad because of my Mom she always taught us to respect people and never judge others by what they look like for that I am very grateful and I am a fighter because of her.
  18. Teacher's Niece????

    by crystal My sixth grade teacher was an elderly, unmarried lady named Miss Martin. She gave stern looks and demonstrated a no nonsense attitude that did not allow any disrespect or chaos in her class. Throughout my grade school experience I had been just another student, NEVER the teacher's pet, NEVER singled out for doing a good job and only called on when I didn't have a clue of the answer. Evidently Miss Martin saw something in my girlfriend and I who were not members of the "in" group. We weren't allowed to skate on our responsibilities, expected grasp of the curriculum or homework but whenever she needed to instruct or critique either of us she always led her remark with how we reminded her of her niece with the same name.....Crystal (or in my girlfriend's case, Cheryl). We all knew she didn't have nieces with those names but it truly made us feel special without the stigma of being a teacher's pet which, in turn, made us both determined to not only meet but exceed her expectations.
  19. My Daughter

    by Michelle Growing up outside of Detroit, Michigan was not easy for my family. We seen alot of heart ache and hardships. I was the fifth child out of six siblings and my parents had their hands full. My mother suffered from depression and my father worked two jobs. We did not have alot. My older siblings were in trouble with the law and had my parents in distress most all the time. I became introverted as a child and quite the loner. As I approached my teens I tried to find myself amongst anyone who would accept me. I was desperate for friends and love. I had a strong belief in the Lord. I prayed constantly for a way out and somehow to improve my life. I had stumbled into areas that were not a promising road because that is where I found acceptance. Still believing God was there on my side. Well, at nineteen I became pregnant and scared but I knew I had to change things around.It was no longer about me but about a helpless life that now would count on me. That was my defining moment. 32 yrs.ago.
  20. Pivotal Moment in My Life

    by Michele In 2009, I was 42, divorced, and worked in the same dead end job for over 10 years. I thought to myself everyday, "Is this it? Is this why I wake up in the morning?" During that time, my 70 year old uncle was dying. He had failing kidneys, and his one remaining cadaver-donated kidney was no longer functioning. Because of dialysis and his sickness, he was ready to die. As if the words were popping out of my mouth beyond my control, I volunteered to donate my kidney to him. He hung on! I woke up each morning to live a healthier life, to pass every test at the hospital to ensure, he had a pristine kidney. After almost a year of testing and making him well enough for surgery, it finally happened. It's now 2014 and both donor and recipient are doing great. He lives his life as if everyday was a treasure. Me? I wake up and know I'm a kidney donor. Not only did I save his life, I saved mine. I thought I had limits as to who I was in this world, but not anymore. Never again.
  21. Flippin burgers

    by Charlene When I was 16 I decided to quit school. I thought I knew it all. I was sure I was going to be a success story and start my road to riches NOW and not wait 2 more years to graduate. Plus I was too smart and knew it all anyway. "No one uses math" when you get out of school anyway right? So. I quit school and got a job at the Burger King. The hours were even earlier than getting up for school - I had to be there for 6AM instead of that awesome extra hour of sleep for the 7AM school bus. Its ok...the price to pay for a sweet paycheck right? After about a week of flippin burgers, smelling like grease and dealing with irate customers who are "always right" I was beginning to wonder if I made a mistake. Then my Principle came in. He stood in front of me and said "I am disappointed in you". Mr. Bombard, those were life changing words. I quit my job, went back to school, graduated, and learned a valuable lesson. Don't sell yourself short - go for it, you can do it and you deserve it
  22. Sit down you can't dance!

    by Elona As a child I knew I was different! I was painfully shy, but would love to dance. On one occation a family member told me to sit down because She thought I could not dance she laughed and laughed. I cried and cried! My Grandmother turned to my family member and said " Why should she, YOU are not listening to what she is listening to" Since then I have not missed a beat!! Literally!! I'm the first onto the dance floor and the last! I have a lot of stamina. I don't need alcohol or drugs, yet still people ask "what am I on" People said they find me mesmerizing! I tell them I'm listening! Dancing is my passion, my grandmother's comment has given me confidence in everything I do in life. My grandmother also said no one knows you are shy unless you telll them. I have not looked back, no one, that knows me, believes that I was ever shy! I am a grandmother now myself an have very confident grand-children, all 4 of them. they all love and thrive at the fact that they are different.
  23. Attitude Adjustment

    by Cindi One weekend my best friend and I decided to take a little road trip to the beach. We had both been under a lot of pressure and needed a breather. I had known my friend for about 5 years and found that she was a very private person. She had occasionally shared stories from her life to me and most of them had been pretty tragic. We spent the day relaxing in the sun. That night we went to a bar and had a few beers and talked. She began telling me her life story. Alcoholic parents, pregnant at 16, 3 kids by the time she was 20. Her husband was murdered, on and on one tragic story after another and even a few funny ones. We were there all night laughing and crying. I felt like I had just watched a Lifetime movie. At the end of her story, she takes a sip of beer and then she looks right at me and says, "You know, all and all I've had a pretty good life". It forever changed my negative attitude towards life. If she wasn't negative I had no right to be. I live by those words.
  24. Grandma's Tough Love

    by Viola Who inspired me; at the age of 40, I found myself reflecting on that very question. I was raised by my grandmother ( who reminds me of Judge Judy). This was no easy feat for her because she had health problems and I have cerebral palsy. Grandma was a tough, no-nonsense type of women, who I mistakenly thought was very cold. She always telling me to do things for myself, and would get upset if someone tried to help me. Her reasoning was simply: "they may think your cute now; but it won't be so cute when you're older." She would say: "Viola you have to develop a think skin and stand on your own two feet; the world does not give you anything for free." This really hit home when I was in 11th grade and feeling particularly sorry for myself over something trivial. I came home from school and pinned to my bedroom wall was a note. It read: " Dearest Viola, do the very best you can with what you have, anything less is truly a sin." I still think about that today; love is not cuddling, it's tough
  25. your smile

    by Jeanne I was working my first office job in beautiful downtown Lorain, Ohio. I would do the banking. As I was walking back to the office, an older gentleman stopped me and proceded to go on about what a beautiful smile I had and how nice it was to see a smiling face. This inspired me to always have a smile no matter what was going on internally. Years later, I was working for a trucking company. One of the drivers needed help thatIi was unable to do. So I told him to please have a seat (smiling) and I would see that he got help right away and I called him sir. He went on about how nice I was and he thanked me for calling him sir. This inspired me to show everyone be he an executive or a trucker the same courtesy. Certainly helped in my life work or personal.
  26. Finding My Calling

    by Karen I was in my first semester of college, at the top-rated Drama Program in my state. And hating it! All I had ever been interested in was the theater and my bubble was burst... One day, I was approached by a supervisor at my Work-Study job in the school's daycare center. She told me I had a gift for working with young children, and invited me to her office in the Early Childhood department. Thank you , Mrs Ansley, for guiding me to a wonderful career.
  27. A young teen learning that their opinion is valid

    by Thora Was in the 8th grade, female students were still required to take home ec, had my moment in time. Our home ec teacher was probably told to economize. she had us "watered down" everything we prepared. Even then could not see the value, you weren't getting all the nutrients of the meal. Our homeroom teacher got wind of this discontent. He said we could bring him a sample of each meal we prepared. If he deemed it worthy, we had to eat it, without complaint. First time the home ec teacher accompanied us for his verdict. He tasted the meal, said it wasn't too flavorful, but edible. We ate it. The next time, the teacher didn't join us, he still said it wasn't great, but edible. We were loosing hope that he would keep his word. But the third time, he said it was inedible and dumped his plate in the trash. He said we had proven our point with evidence. Watering down ceased, we actually learned to prepare decent meals. And we learned to stand up for our position, by presenting hard facts.
  28. School counselor kept me in school.

    by Jill I wanted to quit school at 16 years old. I struggled academically in the classroom, but excelled in school plays. My mother always said if you could memorize your homework like you can a script you would be a great student. My 9th grade school counselor made a point to visit each of our classrooms each month. I wasn't sure if she really knew who I was until I received a hand written note the night after a school performance of The King and I. I had a very small part. She wrote how much she enjoyed seeing me in the performance and how well I did. I was so touched that I vowed to be in every play after that. The clincher was that in order to be in the plays you had to have a B average. Well, I did it. I even went on to be a teacher. Now I work as a receptionist at a senior living community. One day I took a call for one of our 93 year old residents and it was my old school counselor. I was able to tell her again what an impact she made on my life. Another moment I'll never forget
  29. A friend named Nancy who saved my future!

    by Kathy When I was 22 yrs old living with my sister and my young son, I had earned my GED a year before and was working for $5.00 an hour. I was barely making ends meet but I had been on welfare for 2 years and I wanted desperately to support myself and my son on my own. One day my car broke down and was not fixable. I was devastated, I could not get to work (which was 25 miles)and I had no money to buy a car or lease and no family with money. I was in a horrible position and my only option was quit and go back on welfare which was humiliating to me. My best friend called me up and told me she was picking me up to go out. I was really depressed but I thought it would do me some good. When she picked me up she was in this older nicer mustang and I asked why she had another car and she told me it was for me to keep. She never asked for any money. With her help she changed everything, I was able to work and when her car died i was able to finally get a loan to buy my own car. She is my hero!
  30. The Dragon Lady

    by Ellen There always seems to be a teacher that instills shock and awe in his/her students. For the senior class at Bradwell Institute in Hinesville, GA, it was Faye Darsey. With her perfectly coiffed side-parted hair with the flip, she walked calmly and half-smirkingly through the hallowed halls of our high school. I had 4 older siblings who had already run the gauntlet with her, and my knees shook like crazy that first week of my senior year. We'd had to write a list of books we'd read over the summer and I think I had listed about 30 different titles. She called out to me as I stood slurping at the water fountain. I thought that same water was going to pass right thru my gullet and into my shoes. I felt my eyes grow wide as she approached, and she walked right up to me, almost nose to nose and said, "I'm glad you like to read. Stop by my class after school and I'll give a list of my favorite books." She smiled and kept walking. She also passed me at the end of the year, turning my F to a B.
  31. Don't Ever Underestimate Yourself!

    by Mike I was about 12 years old and struggling to do a gymnastics move. My father was working with me. My father performed in the circus for a number of years with the high trapeze act and he also taught gymnastics. When saying I can't do the task, my father said "Don't ever underestimate yourself". To this day I have always used that advice throughout my life. I have accomplished more than 99% of anyone because of it. I am a 4h degree master martial arts instructor. I am a successful business owner and grandfather of nine grandchildren. I have mastered so many things in my life and people around me simply say "is there anything you can't or haven't done". I attribute it all to "never underestimating myself".
  32. From Firey Red to Strawberry Blonde

    by Lynda At approximately age 9 (1960ish)I hated my firey red hair & my freckles. My family had just purchased a colored tv console with radio & record player. I was very excited. When the delivery truck pulled up I ran outside. When the man got out of the truck he said "What a pretty little girl with strawberry blonde hair". That tiny sentence made me feel pretty. It was something to have strawberry blonde hair. I was proud of my firey red hair from that day on.. 40 years later I was at a restaurant and was introduced to a man who's last name was Brackeen. I asked if his family owned a tv store. Yes his dad did. I told him my story. Apparently they had a lot of red heads in his family and his dad called them strawberry blondes. Now I have natural medium brown hair and my hairdresser gives me strawberry blonde highlights!
  33. Mr. Bernstein

    by Barry I was actually just thinking yesterday about probably the same Mr. Bernstein, who I had for 6th grade in 1957-58 at PS 255 in Brooklyn. Google brought your remembrance. I remembered specifically what he he promised us all - that he would never embarrass one of us students in front of the class. I've realized how I've (without ever thinking of the source) have striven for the same in any group. As a teacher, as a manager, as a parent. I owe that to him. And I also remember that in our class "assembly" play to not do the usual, but we created our own Broadway-inspired musical production. Would love to know if Mr. Bernstein is still alive and could contact him.
  34. Drawing My Own Animal

    by John When I was 6, we were doing an art project at camp with colored paper that I was very excited about, I was into dinosaurs and had been drawing for a couple years. When I saw one of the assistants going around the room quickly drawing a generic animal on everyone's paper I got worried.. when she leaned over me and drew on my sheet I was crushed. When I told my parents what happened, my dad said "you should have turned the paper over and drawn your own animal." My lack of self confidence persisted for years until age 39 when I quit my routine account manager job to follow the best advice I ever got. After a couple years of odd jobs I landed a gallery show and my first painting instructor position. Now I have my own business Space Age Painting, teaching kids the skills to paint while empowering them with full creative control of their art. I went from having Fortune 500 clients to 6-11 year old clients, and I encourage them to draw their own animal in every aspect of their life.
  35. Sixth grade for me too!

    by Ann N. There must be something about the sixth grade. My sixth grade teacher was Miss Judith Shupp. She must have been in her 30's or 40's, and like Mr. Berntein, that was next to death to my 12 year old self! I remember her as a good teacher who, unlike my previous teachers, made me feel smart and competent for the first time. But the defining experience was in the spring, towards the end of the year. Both sixth grade classes spent a week at a Girl Scout camp, probably not more than 25 miles from the school but seemed like Mars to me. I'd never been away from home overnight (except at a friend's house) and I was miserable. The first day at lunch, I didn't eat but sat on the bench crying. Miss Shupp came over, sat next to me and tried to make me laugh with silly faces. She checked in with me often to make sure I was doing OK, as I wasn't very popular and felt very alone. Miss Shupp came to my high school graduation and inspired me years later to be a teacher myself.
  36. My inspiration

    by Janice My son with autism. Soon after he was born, he had 3 surgeries to help him walk and use his hands. We knew at a young age, he was going to be a special needs child. I chose to go to school in the evenings after work to learn everything to be able to help him in almost every situation. His father chose to leave. He left because I refused to put my son on ssi. It had to be my son's choice when he got older. He's my child, not the states. His loss. As he got older, we got closer. He had to learn how to talk again after his last surgery. At 27 years old, We still work with some words, he's reached the age of 15, which is more then was expected. What inspired me? When the time came for work or ssi, his response was 'it's not the State's fault I was born this way, I want to make my own way and a mark on the world, you taught me we are responsible for every action we do.' He works for me and a store. He inspires me to always be a better mom 24/7. He loves Judge Judy too.
  37. A teacher changed my life.

    by Wendie When I was in 6th grade I became ill with Nefritis and missed a year of school. By 9th grade I had decided that I would quit school. I had no friends and most of my teachers told me I was stupid and would not amount to anything. My English teacher Mrs. Sostrom was different. She encouraged me to prove them all wrong. I had started actively trying to get straight F's in all my classes. She convinced me to turn that around. At the beginning of Spring quarter I had an F average. With her help at the end of school I had a B average. She told me to never let anyone convince me I was not good enough. I have gone on to complete graduate school and work toward a Ph.D. All it took was one person to notice I was struggling and to step up to say, "Hey, can I help?"
  38. Inspiration

    by Linda I watched my mother, her sister and my husband's uncle become older and suffer the frailties of life. I never once heard them complain about any of what they had to go through. When I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer three years ago, I was inspired by them....They were feisty, courageous and determined to live life every day, no matter what. I woke up from my operation to the news that I had cancer and told my family immediately that I would go through whatever the doctors wanted me to do and when all was said and done - they would be able to say - " Poor cancer, you picked the wrong person ! " When I was down, I thought of them and could imagine them cheering me on, telling me I could do this as they had always encouraged me to do my best. I will always be grateful for the inspiration and examples they gave me to get through a tough time in my life.
  39. Little inspirations mean a lot

    by Susan One huge inspiration, no. A lot of little ones that mean a lot to me, yes. -There was an elderly gentleman who always tipped his hat to me. That gentlemanly gesture made me feel cherished. -There was a music teacher who greeted me for the first time with the words, "First we must learn to enCHOY the music!" and with her, I did. And still do. -There was a boyfriend who encouraged me to be myself, and his mother who was always herself. They made me feel that I might be acceptable as me. - There was a psychiatrist who called me a "silly twit" in a way that made me realize that yes, I was behaving like a silly twit. - There was my father's former business partner, who was like an uncle to me. He spent a couple of hours with me one afternoon, and I was astonished that anyone could think me that important. - There are people I know only through the internet who have been encouraging and sympathetic and patient and informative. - Not one big inspiration. Little ones mean a lot.
  40. 9th Grade English Teacher

    by Chris She told me I was a writer. She couldn't wait for my stories and poems and even bound them up in a book for me at year's end. I have written on and off in my life and have a business position that I have held for years but when strangers ask me what I do, I always say "I am a writer." Thanks Mrs Lee.
  41. Inspired by my son.

    by B My adult son inspires me on a daily basis. Through him I have come to see the beauty in things I would never consider beautiful. . For example, the beauty in robots or the beauty in our own anatomy. My son has even shown me the beauty in spiders. How they too have maternal instincts and take care of their young. I am so thankful to have this kind, warm and sensitive and very highly intelligent man for my son.
  42. Sunny Disposition

    by Beth My 8th grade English teacher wrote on my report card, "Beth has a sunny disposition." Well I knew what sunny meant, but didnt know what the word disposition meant. My mom had me look it up in the dictionary. Oh my goodness, Mrs. Berg thinks I am special!! It made my day! :)

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