This morning, our world lost a true gentleman.
Jim Stynes was an amazing, inspirational man who not only made a difference to the lives of thousands of youth in Australia; he made a personal impact on me.
Back in ye olde school days, Jim came to my school for a day-long workshop with my year level. We were at that super awkward age of 16 where we felt lost, confused and uncertain (not unlike life now!!!) He conducted this workshop to help us see we were not the only ones feeling this, that we could empower our lives, and helped the group understand that bullying was not cool.
During school, I was bullied severely (I changed schools in year 8 to try and escape my hell – but due to my cautious and vulnerable nature (and complete lack of self-worth back then), I had a massive bullseye on my back!). My experiences ranged from name calling to being left out to food being thrown at me (and a lot of other things in between). School was a miserable time for me.
But I will forever remember the day that Jim paid us a visit. We broke into small groups at one point in the afternoon – and by chance, a couple of the girls that gave me a really hard time were in my group. Through Jim’s help, they were able to see the pain and grief they caused me on a day-to-day basis by their bullying – I admit I cried and felt embarrassed by this, but I feel that they too were embarrassed, by being caught out with their actions and words. Although the bullying didn’t stop immediately (a leopard doesn’t change its spots overnight) – from that day, life at school got a little bit easier. And I have Jim to thank for that.
When I heard the news of his passing this morning, I really felt like I had lost someone close. Sure, I had met him once about 13 years ago, but the impact he made on me and my life on that one day was enormous and is something I will forever be grateful for.
He fought a long and courageous battle with cancer, yet still inspired others during his own pain and suffering.
Thank you Jim. May you rest peacefully.