Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Saturday 29th August

I think the most fascinating thing in this world must be people. At least, one of the most fascinating 🙂

Yesterday, at the airport I encountered a whole number of different people, from the couple with overloaded trolleys in the queue in front of me, to the hunter-type dressed in khaki shorts who sat next to me on the plane, to the tall, tall man with two cute kids on the train. Every one of them is an individual and every one has a story to tell.

It fascinates me to think of so many people with so much going on in their lives doing everyday things in their own little worlds just as I do in mine, day after day – meaning things to different people, making an impact on the world in little or large ways that, basically, the mass of us will never be aware of. And yet, we all beaver on doing just that.

Then we came to the university and met the group of students on this workshop. They, too, are individuals with their own lives, desires, pressures, studies and realities as they go about what they have to do. They have their own family circumstances, those for whom they care and the impact on the world they want to make.

Again, fascinating.

It is so interesting, and such a privilege, to have even a glimpse into so many different lives and to think that, perhaps in some important way, I may have had an impact on their lives that they will take forward as they seek to make their own impact on others.

That, I think, is the essence of being a teacher in any way at all. With teaching, the encounter with the learners is, obviously, longer-term than in these workshops. The desire to impart something that will help the individuals somehow in their development is not any less, though.

I wonder if the feeling is the same for the doctors and other professionals who work with people who have cancer: the desire to know that they have made a difference. I don’t see how it can be any other way, only their input is, most often, about life and death, which is an impact on a completely different level.

I know that the docs and others who worked with me on my cancer journey definitely had different kinds of impacts on me: from impressing me with the sheer professionalism and efficiency with which my cancer was approached and handled, to, simply, being human beings who know because they’ve seen so much.

I think that that is what this whole thing about having an impact is about in many ways – taking what you have seen and learnt and using that to be able to make a difference to others. For those of us in the ‘service’ industries, I suppose that that is what we aim to do most of the time. For everyone, though, there is surely no harm in aiming to impart some kind of wisdom based on our experience even if it is only to a small group. In that way, perhaps, we can all have an impact that can help to develop our world.

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