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9. List 10 people who have influenced you and describe how.
I've been pondering this one for a long time and just posted that I wasn't going to answer it right now, that I'm having a hard time with it. And then in answering question 10, I came up with a partial answer.
So, I'm going to answer this one bit by bit, as they come to me. Forgive me, I'm finding this one hard because I'm not easily influenced - I'm pretty strong willed and while I'll seek out the opinions of others, I generally do what I think is best, not what others do.
1. My Childhood Bullies.
I was bullied quite a bit as a youngster. I was teased for many things, my size (I was tiny) for where we lived (we lived in public housing) my clothes (were fine but we couldn't afford brand names and you know how kids are) my lack of coordination or athletic ability ('nuff said). The fact is, if there was a reason to tease me, the kids in my class found it. I hated school - especially in grades 3, 7 and 8 because that's when I felt it the most.
And it's those very same bullies that taught me empathy. I could feel the pain of the other kids who'd been bullied. And as I got older and more accepted I was still rooting for the underdog.
And now as an adult, especially now as an adult, I still see it happening, at the school I work in (not just with the kids, but sadly enough with co workers as well....yes, even adults bully other adults....being a teacher does not excuse one from being an asshole) and I see it in my kids' school and I think back to when I was that kid and felt the shame and unhappiness of being bullied.
I strive now to teach my kids to be kind to others - always, no matter what. I don't insist that they be friends with everyone but that MUST be kind to others. I know how hard it is to be a kid and I hope I'm able to instill in them that while it might be unpopular, someone needs to stick up for those kids who everyone teases....turning a blind eye to bullying is just as bad as bullying itself.
And I lead by example. As unpopular as it may be, I am kind to those at work who others are not. Because within that person is a heart, feelings and goodness. And no one deserves to be treated like shit.
So - my childhood bullies have influenced me to be a better person than they were - to accept others for who they are and to be kind to everyone.
That's it for now - but as I think of more I'll add them in.