The Teachable Spirit Encounters the Indomitable Spirit

» Posted by on Jul 30, 2014 in teachable spirit | 1 comment

The Teachable Spirit Encounters the Indomitable Spirit

What is the indomitable spirit?
What are the qualities of the indomitable spirit?
What happens when the teachable spirit encounters the indomitable spirit?

Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) at Highline Community College, one of my students was a psychologist who left his office and work in Mexico to come to the U.S. and learn English so that he could return to his country and make a better living. During his time in my class, he wrote the following essay:

Montana and Lilian in the Kimana Rift Valley of Kenya, June 2014.

Montana encountered the indomitable spirit of Lilian when she visited the Kimana Rift Valley of Kenya with her dad, Dr. Warren Bruhl, June 2014.

Alice is a really nice girl who knows what she wants in life. When she was 15 years old, her parents said to her,

“We are so sorry, but we do not have money to send you to study…”

They were living in a small town near Mexico City; so, in order to keep studying, she had to move to downtown. That meant rent to be paid, food, and so on.

Ken and Sandy Taylor, photo courtesy of Ken Taylor.

Ken and Sandy Taylor express their indomitable spirit through the 22 years they have worked to establish the Kimana School of Leadership and Professional Studies in Kimana, Kenya, photo courtesy of Ken Taylor.

She started working as a secretary in a jail, working seven days a week so that she can go to school. This meant she had to get up at 6:00 a.m. because she started at 7:00 a.m. working in the jail. At 2:00 p.m. she got off work, then she had to be at school from 2:00 to 9:00 p.m. After that, she had to do her homework, so she did not have too much time to sleep. Besides all that stuff, she was paying for her two younger brother’s schooling. Eight years later, she became a lawyer and she is a very successful person who never forgets where she came from; she helps her brother and her parents and now she is really happy.       –Oscar, Highline Community College, April 4, 2005

Standing with instructors of Ingrid proudly holding their certificates of completion from the conference I conducted, February 2013.

Standing with instructors of Ingrid proudly displaying their indomitable spirit, continuing to provide good education for students in spite of the sparse environment and low pay, February 2013.

Describing the indomitable spirit perfectly, Oscar captured the essence of what it means to be impossible to subdue or defeat. The qualities of an indomitable spirit include the following:

  • continuing in the face of adversity
  • never giving up
  • finding a way where there seems to be no way
  • overcoming all kinds of barriers and obstacles
  • paying the price for their desires
  • remembering their humble beginnings
Dr. Scott Smith in Kenya, 2012.

Dr. Scott Smith demonstrates his indomitable spirit in many ways: providing healthcare, overseeing medical students, fundraising, and overseeing the creation of Kilimanjaro Mission Hospital. Photo by Beret Meyers Photography.

Encountering the indomitable spirit evokes the teachable spirit to feel:

  • humility
  • gratitude
  • thanksgiving
  • admiration

Collectively, these feelings create a desire in the teachable spirit to support and edify the indomitable spirit, fortifying the individual to carry on in the face of such great odds. The indomitable spirit is especially found in children before life’s circumstances take it away. Encouraging little ones to overcome barriers and obstacles helps to strengthen this characteristic for a more successful life.

Admiring the indomitable spirit of Douglas and the children of Ingrid compels me support this work in Nairobi, Kenya, January 2013.

Admiring the indomitable spirit of Douglas and the children of Ingrid compels me to support the instructors by providing professional development in Nairobi, Kenya, January 2013.

Ingrid Education Centre is supporting the indomitable spirit by hosting a school for 200 children in the under resourced area of Kayole and Matopeni on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. You can participate in assisting the founder, Douglas Monene, and the teachers of Ingrid today because contributing $15.00 a month or $180.00 a year provides all the clothes, books, and food needed for one boy or girl to attend school. Contact Douglas Monene, founder of Ingrid Education Centre via email: to learn how to sponsor one of the children who attend Ingrid



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1 Comment

  1. Jean. I love learning about new words. Indomitable is a word I had not heard of before, but loved learning about it. From your description, I find that I have similar characteristics to that young lady who didn’t give up.

    Your posts are always refreshing and enlightening as well as educational. Thank you for you words of wisdom.

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