Jan inspires everyone with her energy and enthusiasm. She has many interests, including kayaking, social justice, photography, and folk dancing. She organizes the First Congregational Church's soup kitchen night.
Jan is perhaps best known for her interest in Hispanic languages and culture. She is a teacher of the Spanish Language and cultural anthropology of Mexico. She started "La Mesa", which is a forum for both language students and native speakers to practice their Spanish in a predominantly white, Scandinavian town. Through the community college, she has lead tours of Spanish-speaking countries. She organizes a "cultural Thursday" presentation for the public every third Wednesday at the Central Lakes community college. She instigated a scholarship (and related fundraiser, including Hispanic foods, crafts, and music) for Spanish students to study abroad. She was recently recognized as "citizen of the year" (2004) by the Brainerd Human Rights Committee.
Jan has demonstrated that she is a caring and empathic person, and has put a lot of her energy into helping others appreciate diversity.
Submitted by Anonymous
Pass It On®
Pass It On®
Isabella K. from Arizona MAY 23, 2009
Thank you for this little reminder. I am sixteen and I sometimes make my mom absentminded. You made me realize what I make her go through, even the little things. Thanks this hit me hard.
Miguel M. from Arizona U.S.A. MAY 13, 2008
I guess next time we need to try to look at others view points in situations because we might not understand the situation but its also very true.
Ed O from Alabama APRIL 2, 2008
Thank you! I wish there are more of those who understand these incident you named a few. FORGIVENESS is not what they need but UNDERSTANDING and COMPASSION. Perhaps one day you will have one of these incidents but don't worry I'LL BE THERE TO UNDERSTAND YOU.
Norman from Nairobi, Kenya FEBRUARY 13, 2008
Thanks for the reminder that no matter how caught up we are in our endeavors, we should always be considerate of others, no matter what. Life becomes more perfect when we all endeavor to care for one another.
Susan B. from Kissimmee, Florida USA FEBRUARY 9, 2008
This is so true. We never truly know what people are going through on a daily basis. Judging someone is easy; not judging is a lot more difficult. This made me think about being more compassionate toward people; friend or stranger.
Katie B. from Utah, USA NOVEMBER 12, 2007
That is a very nice thing to do...put your feelings out there to learn them for yourself and help other people learn them too. My life ambition is to be a writer I love to express myself and that truly is what you did...for all the world to see.
Irisanneth G. from Idaho, USA NOVEMBER 11, 2007
Sometimes walking in someone elses' shoes is a lot harder than it seems. We should at least try to create a better life not only for ourselves but for our children. It takes patience to learn to tolerate and to be tolerant, but we need to!
Jossy, A. from Lagos, Nigeria OCTOBER 15, 2007
There is part of me in every one of the stories you told. It is so humbling to realize by reading these stories that we often act in ignorance and selfishness when we could otherwise create so much peace and happiness by being a little thoughtful about the other person's challenges.
Thanks, many thanks for opening my eyes to this obvious truth.
Luana S. from St.George SEPTEMBER 9, 2007
Benjamin M. from Las Vegas, Nevada USA SEPTEMBER 3, 2007
I want to thank you I am 80 years old and I should know better but it took your email to really make me understand about me and try to change.
Pamela G. from Cambridge, United Kingdom AUGUST 28, 2007
...how beautifully put. We walk around in our own little worlds knowing nothing of what is going on for other people, and forgetting, most of the time, that we are all living life, with its myriad ups and downs, and those things affect us and how we interact with each other. We need to really look at people, allow yourself to see what's good in them - allow yourself to see they are human, allow yourself to see how similar we all are...
Haunani from Maui, Hawaii JULY 31, 2007
How easy it is to go about our day without thinking of others first. You planted the seed in my head knowing that there are others that do have it much harder than I. Yet I take it for granted daily that life's just perfect out there like in my own little world. A Big Mahalo for opening my eyes of something I really already "know" but don't always practice...and Lord knows we need to do more of that! Thanks for the reminder.
mLb from Pinas, Ecuador JULY 24, 2007
I'm so touch about the apologist mention. I remember before my husband died, he always telling me "patience is all we need" for we are human we have feelings and if we don't have patience we might hurt others, even our loved ones.
Reema from Palestine JULY 18, 2007
You have touched my heart as well as my mind...we all regard our problems as the biggest and they are not...I suffer and push my mother to suffer too because of my anger and sadness...I will always remember your story to find excuses to the others...
Donna S. from South Carolina, USA JULY 3, 2007
Not too long after I had begun to drive as a teenager, someone pulled out of a parking lot onto the road in front of me. I reacted angrily and pulled up very close behind her- just to show my irritation and let her know she didn't "just get away with that!" We've all been there with similar incidents and reactions. My mother was with me, and told me to turn into the next parking lot. Safely there, she asked me why I thought that lady had pulled out in front of me. Just rude, power
play-I guessed. Mom said that maybe she had just had some bad news, maybe she was late picking up her child and was distracted. Think of all the possibilities of why someone does something like that. It's usually not on purpose- but what I do as a reaction is on purpose. She always said that I needed to think about the other side before I react. Usually the reaction causes more of a problem. I am in my 50's now, and to this day, that has always popped into my head whenever those incidents happen. I've taught my children the same thing. We often see and hear about "road rage." No matter to what extent that "rage" is taken, my children will say something like, "They need Grandma's words!" As adults, I don't see them react as most of us do even though their first reaction is always anger and irritation-- but they catch it and wonder what the other person's problem might be. Even if the other driver really might be rude or doing a "power play," no more dangerous reactions will occur because of their irritation.
Kavitha B. from Chennai, India JUNE 21, 2007
I wish people all around the world could read this. This is surely an eye opener. I would love to read all this over and over again until they get incorporated into ME!!
Mark C. from US JUNE 18, 2007
My wonderful wife is always reminding me of the "what if's"; what if that person is running late?; what if they're out of gas?; what if she just got some bad news? Often in my own impatience I am very intolerant of the circumstances of others and I thank God every day that I have married a wonderful "what-ifer" who reminds me that life isn't just about me, it's about all of us, all the time, in all circumstances.
Michelle G from Bundy, Australia JUNE 3, 2007
I will remember your stories - ideally at times when I am getting annoyed with or judgmental of others. The stories really emphasize how everyone has a life of their own, issues of their own, their own triggers and motivators (their own path?)
Yhanice M. M. from Calamba, Philippines JUNE 2, 2007
I learned a lot on your story. I can say that understanding is the best though it is hard.
Mavis C from Uganda MAY 25, 2007
Life's lessons never end, sometimes we live like we have seen it all, done it all and expect nothing out of the ordinary. However even the simplest lessons skip our minds when we do not think of the others around us as we tend to think that the world is all about us. My thoughts, my time, my dreams, my goals, my future, my family, my job, etc. What about everything or even something about others but yourself. Live life not as an individual but as people dependent on one another to make this world a better place.
Shelly G. from Philippines MAY 25, 2007
Sometimes we find people annoying without thinking what causes them to act that way. We should learn to be compassionate and understanding.
Sam, S. from AZ MAY 8, 2007
When we are in a jam, we wish others would understand. We never really pay attention to the fact everyone else has their problems and is wishing the same thing. You made a very good point, and thank you.
jean g from danville va MAY 3, 2007
We never stop to think about the people around us and why they are doing what we think is aggravating to us. We may be in their shoes at some point in time, very good.
Krishan from Undisclosed MARCH 27, 2007
Dear writer, this was really a piece of heart, please accept my appreciation for the masterpiece. Yes you are right, we all do that many times in a day. But you put up the facts in very appealing way.
Anonymous MARCH 21, 2007
This is so important! Empathy, compassion, and understanding would go a very very long way to creating a more peaceful world. On all levels. In our offices, neighborhoods, communities, states, and countries.