A Life Lesson

I have always had a passion for pens and in my first term in secondary school when I was just 12 years old, there was a class raffle for a fancy biro that was all shiny and colourful, unlike the usual biros that were kicking around then.

I decided to really go for it and bought more tickets than the rest of the class, or I’d say the school, put together.

I was absolutely certain I had covered every angle so was ready to rush up and collect the precious pen when the winning ticket was pulled out of the makeshift hat. But alas, someone who had bought just a single ticket won.

I couldn’t believe or understand how this could have happened and realised to my horror that I could have bought a fistful of fancy pens with my crazy investment.

Maths has never been my strong point but ever since that I have had a particular interest in concepts like ‘chance’ and ‘risk.’

I still love pens, especially handcrafted colourful ones but I certainly don’t buy many lottery tickets or skip or assume anything about ‘chance.’

I’d love to hear about life lessons that you learned at a young age that have stayed with you.

Imaginative Teachers

A couple of teachers that I had over the years up to school-leaving age have left a very positive imprint on my heart and mind.

One was a guy who always seemed to look for ways to make us think and not just focus on sticking rigidly to the syllabus.

One day, he arrived in with a list of sayings and distributed one to each of us. I got: ‘Success breeds success.’ I can vividly remember fumbling around trying to explain what I thought it meant but knew I wasn’t being very coherent. He encouraged me to think through what it might mean.

All these years on, it has stayed with me and it springs to mind in relation to everything from the way seeding in tennis is a prime example as is managing to build confidence from attaining what may seem like a tiny goal to others – walking 2km consistently and getting the confidence to push on to participate in a 10km or 20km walk.

There was a scheme in our school where kids in their final year were paired with a teacher to help out with the younger kids.

I was paired with my Success breeds Success teacher. One of the assignments he set me was to give a 20 minute talk to a group of 12 year olds about how technology was likely to impact on all our lives in 50 years time.

I didn’t have Google to help me but tried to let my imagination run wild. Computers were the size of houses back then and we were still in the era of telephone operators and black and white televisions. Robots were central to my talk. I think Dr. Who was my inspiration there. I certainly didn’t foresee the massive impact of the internet and virtual world.

But, almost every day, something from the life lessons taught by this teacher flash into my head.

I hope you were fortunate to have at least one teacher who left a lasting, positive impression on you?