If you spend time on social media you will come across this word, or derivatives of it, being banded around constantly. People are called inspirational because they post pictures of themselves or the food they have eaten. They are inspirational because they have 25K followers and 500K likes. It has become a very over used and, as a result, under valued word.
Let me tell you a little story about true inspiration, it is not related to walking so please stick with it. This story shows the true meaning of the word inspirational.
In 1967 a young boy started at Secondary School. He was the eldest of four children and had been brought up in a very happy family environment and never wanted for anything. Except however, his own portable radio. This was the time of the Pirate radio stations, Radio’s Caroline, Northsea International and Radio Luxemburg. Radio 1 had just been launched on 247 Metres in the medium wave band. This was an exciting time – if you had a radio!
During morning assembly, on the 2nd day at school, one of the teachers announced that there would be a meeting of the school radio club that evening after school. All were welcome to come along and build a simple radio. That evening this young boy built and took home a very rudimentary radio on which he was able to listen to Radio 1.
The art of radio communication fascinated this young man and he developed a keen interest in shortwave listening and amateur (ham) radio. With encouragement from this teacher the he studied for his City & Guilds Radio Amateur exam and got his Home Office transmitting licence when he was 14 years old.
His interest deepened and he studied radio communications at college with a view to being a Radio Officer in the Merchant Navy. However, he eventually joined the RAF as an airborne communications specialist. Following a successful military career of 30 years he moved into the retail industry selling radio communications equipment.
Now, that teacher did not set out to steer or influence that young boys life, but that is exactly what he did. The teacher presented an opportunity which cast the first stone for a long and illustrious career in radio communications. That teacher was Mr. Rick Powell and he was my woodwork teacher. Due to his wanting to encourage youngsters into radio as a hobby he set in stone my entire life. He truly inspired me and still does to this day.
So, what I am saying is, inspiration is not about how fast you run, how many mountains you have climbed or how much weight you have lost. Nor is it about how successful we are at social media. It is those simple things that we don’t even realise we are doing. The opportunities, as parents, we offer up to our children. As outdoor enthusiasts, it’s not about showing them how brilliant or brave we are, it is about just asking them to join you for just one day.
You are truly inspirational the day you do something and don’t even realise it.