The challenge for Wordfull Wednesday this week is:
"Think about those who have had a significant influence in your life.
Besides the Savior, Heavenly Father, and your family, list ten of the most important and influential people in your life. Write the reasons why they are and have been so important to you. Some of these will be people you have known, but some might be people you have only heard of or read about." (Mary Ellen Edmunds, Peculiar in a Good Way, pg.23)
This seems a good month to think of those who have had impact on my life....I'm sure there are far more than 10 people who deserve a mention on this list. Eliminating family is hard, but please know that they are not forgotten, just on the FAMILY LIST.
Here is my list, in no particular order.
1) Mr. Wilson, my 7th grade English and History teacher helped our class make a book. Not just a leaflet, but a real book. It was a joke book and we all had great fun finding contributions. My mom was a good parent and good sport who typed much of the book. (This was in the days BEFORE computers were available.) -- He taught us that we could accomplish great things, that we could make plans, set goals and create a product.The book had more than 100 pages.
2) Dr. Hobbs, a professor of Elementary Education at Utah State University. When I returned to college, an "older" student with many obligations, she challenged me to do more than the run of the mill student. I loved her classes, her poise, her southern accent, and the high standards she held for all students. She taught how to strive to surpass yourself at all times. She was always prepared and held herself to the same high standards. She is a marvelous example.
3) Abbie is my next-door neighbor and a dear friend. She is the best example in the world of charity, kindness, caring and love. For many years Abbie managed a program at USU called "Upward Bound" that assisted struggling HS students and enabled them to gain admission to a university and then supported them as they met the challenges of getting and education. She retired when her granddaughter was born and she decided to stay home and be the caregiver so her daughter in law could return to the workplace. -- When I began teaching school the granddaughter was in my first class of first grade students (I taught 2nd before 1st). Abbie volunteered in my classroom daily. She has done so every year since. Her granddaughter will graduate from high school this year. Abbie is 85 years old.
4) Kit sees miracles in everyday life, believes completely, and has the gift of sensing the unspoken feelings of others. She knows if you are hungry, thirsty, tired, happy, well, ill, etc. She meets the need she senses and truly loves unconditionally.
5) Carolyn Keene, author of Nancy Drew. Now, I know that Carolyn Keene is fictitious, but the hours spent reading about Nancy, Bess, George and their friends certainly had influence in my life. I spent hours reading of their adventures and going to marvelous places while solving mysteries in my own head. Childhood wouldn't have been nearly as fun with out Nancy Drew.
6) Sister Stecker. Oh, how I wanted to be old enough to be in Sister Stecker's primary class! It was in the olden days when Primary was on Wednesday afternoons after school. Sister Stecker's class got to make a Jerusalem Village with salt clay dough and chenille sticks. There were houses and stables, people and animals, and after it was made and dried, you could paint it! What patience this lady must have had! I think she taught that same class FOREVER. (When I was 12 and went to my first dance, Sister Stecker's son, Leonard, asked me to dance! The song was Neil Diamond's "Song Sung Blue.") -- I hope I'm half the primary teacher Sister Stecker was.
7) Judy: Judy was my mom's best friend in the town where we lived. She was always available if mom or any of mom's children needed anything! We all knew Judy's phone number as well as our own. Interestingly, I don't really remember Mom and Judy doing very many things together, but I do know that they needed each other. They are still good friends.
8) Mr. Kennington was the principal at my school for a couple of years. He was (and is) really a people person. He meets someone once and is fast friends with them. He knew the name of every child in the school within the first month of school. As marvelous as that is, he wins a spot on this list because he invited me to write an important document. The result was many thousands of dollars to support an endeavor that our city desperately needed. Prior to this I liked to write, but the experience taught me that I really liked technical writing and that I am really good at writing boring material. I appreciate his insight in helping me find a hidden talent.
9) Spencer W. Kimball, the prophet of my teen years. The beliefs we have are so directly related to what we commit to and decide to do during our teen years. Many of my strongly held beliefs are directly related to the teachings of President Kimball. I am who I am because of this man's dedication to serve.
10) Steve and Brenda are my son's in-laws. They have been great examples of grand-parenting to us as we blunder through the process. They love our son, they share their daughter, and they share our sweet grandson with us. I found out, quite by accident, that they let their sweet daughter know that it would be especially important to allow us lots of time with Michael since he was our first grandchild. I know they have made great sacrifices of time to allow us to enjoy Michael time. I continue to love them more and more each day. (They count as one because they are one -- one in purpose and one in deed.)
There you have it. 10 of the most influential people in my life. It seems that the majority of influence comes when we are young, but that we have great power to influence others when we are older. What a huge responsibility.