Of all the great personalities in history and of all the people you have met in your life, who has inspired you the most? Whose words and actions, style and manner have influenced you in the most positive way?
I have been inspired by teachers who shared knowledge and wisdom, patients who with courage have confronted illness and disability, my dad with his honest work ethic, and my children who have made me a better person.
Growing up, I spent many hours reading Superman and Batman comic books. I imagined having a secret identity and using my powers to overcome adversity, help those in need and make the world a better place.
I also read the World Book encyclopedia - cover to cover - from A to Z. The stories of the great people in history and mythology filled my imagination.
I didn't realize it then but the heroes of mythology and comic books represented what mythologist Joseph Campbell called "the hero's journey" - the archetypal adventure that represents the life of every human being.
When I reflect upon who has been my greatest inspiration - and who still sets my standards for morality and compassion, my mother comes first.
She was literate, outgoing and kind. She was the most thoughtful person I have ever known. She not only considered the needs of her family but she would worry about every other person she knew.
She was the most honest person I have ever met. If given extra change, she would walk a mile back to the grocery store. She would always do what she knew to be right.
My mom taught me the importance of family. When she was nine years old, she and her siblings were orphaned.
With both parents gone, the children decided to work hard to keep the younger ones fed and clothed until they had all finished school. With better luck, my mom may have gone to university and become a teacher or a nurse.
The courage and love shared by my mom and her siblings remain an inspiration. Without their shared efforts, the family would have been separated, and I would not know my cousins.
My mom came to the hospital every day when I was 10 years old and hospitalized with rheumatoid arthritis. She'd bring me books and stay the whole day. She was the one to take me to all my doctor's appointments and lab tests. She would lose sleep watching over me when I was feverish or in pain.
My mother had faith in me when I did not. She believed I could do great things if I worked at it. She gave me freedom to discover my own talents and supported me in nurturing them.
My mom inspires me still with the selfless, unconditional love she gave me. It remains her legacy to me, and I aspire to give that same love forward to my own children and to every other human being I can touch.
Who inspires you, and how can each of us inspire others?
On Saturday, Nov. 17, Century House in New Westminster will be celebrating Inspiration Day. Recharge your life with inspirational words, laughter, yoga and live comedy. A $5 ticket covers refreshments and door prizes. I'll be presenting the keynote, "Be Inspired... And Inspire Others: Achieving Our Positive Potential." For more information, contact Century House at (604) 519-1066.
Dr. Davidicus Wong is a family physician and writer. His column appears regularly in this paper. You can read more about achieving your positive potential for health at davidicuswong.wordpress.com.