“Do you have an example of that?,” students ask when assigned the class research project.

I understand this desire for a model to follow. An example helps students cross a bridge from their own understanding to what cannot yet be imagined. It guides them to envision more than they could from their own perspective. Inspiration is prompted when students have an example.

Life works that way too. When we have examples to follow we have inspiration and paths to new possibilities are illuminated. Seeds we were unaware of are fertilized.

Cultivating the art of staying inspired is challenging for military spouses who experience constant change. When upheaval is such a part of life, when family and long-term connections are far away and out of sight, and when the only thing familiar is the unfamiliar, motivation for cultivating inspiration grows thin. It takes effort.

Parents, teachers, faith leaders and community members serve as inspiration for youth. A vacuum can occur when we’re adults, but there’s every reason to pursue inspiration throughout our lives. Seeking our own sources of inspiration can expand and multiply our thinking, creativity, problem-solving and character development. It can show us new possibilities.

Being intentional makes inspiration easy to find. Expose yourself frequently to people, music, art, movies, literature, and ideas that resonate with you and inspiration follows. Eventually you’ll find inspiration knocking at your door – the clerk at the market, your mail carrier, or an unexpected story about what someone is doing. You become a source of inspiration to others as a by-product of your own efforts.

Escaping into the latest best seller or turning on mindless TV for a mental break seems more appealing than digging into great literature or pursuing new ideas. There’s a place for brain candy, but avoid allowing it to distract you from pursuing inspiration. It is precisely the challenging times that make inspiration a lifeline. Being intentional about seeking what inspires you can morph a hardship into a growth opportunity.

It’s impossible to read heroic stories like The Boys in the Boat or Unbroken and not come away more primed to make life’s difficulties stepping stones to your own greatness. Seek the best, seek what elevates you, and your thinking, perspective and ambitions will be enlarged.

Inspiration matters. When we invite in cultural richness to serve as examples of what is possible, we are open to more than we could have ever imagined.

About the Author

Kim Bessolo, a former Military Spouse of 20 years, has taught first year students at AMU since 2004. She holds a Master’s in Education, a graduate certificate in online teaching, and participates in university initiatives related to her field whenever possible.

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