Why Learn to teach, teach to learn
Dear Why Team member,
I hope this week’s message finds you well and open to embrace all that the day brings. Remember the old saying: You learn something new every day? Can you easily point out something you learned yesterday?
What about the day before?
Every day brings its own curiosities, it’s up to us to be curious enough to notice them and learn from them to enhance our growth.
I recently heard excerpts from a book on "How to Become a Straight-A Student" by Cal Newport. Cal is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Dartmouth who went on to MIT for his Ph.D. and is now a Professor at Georgetown.
His book presents a new way of learning: start with intense blocks of non-distracted time studying then, the ultimate integration of the learning is to actually teach what you learned to an imaginary class.
We all learn in various ways. We learn by reading, listening, writing and by doing (the task) but apparently, according to the National Training Laboratory, the most productive way to assimilate and apply what we learned is by teaching what we have learned. There are writings that speak to the power of the spoken word. And it makes sense that no spoken word is more impactful on your life than the words you hear coming forth from your mouth.
Much of our Why Team objective is an observation and integration of these types of truths in our lives.
Some ancient cultures believed that only the elder who had "enough accumulated experience" can teach, as teaching implied full-knowledge, but, what is a student to do with a teacher who either knows less than the student or threatens the student's know-it-all mind?
Early in my career, I shared with my Mother my enthusiasm about being able to teach others what I had learned; I was excited to share with them the teachings I had received. Her response was such a healthy awakening for me, she said, "Honey, it's actually arrogant to think you can teach anybody anything".
Wow, thanks Mom :-).
What she was getting at is an old adage that conveys, "When the student is ready, the teacher is provided"; It is always up to the student to learn. First, they have to want to be students. Some feel threatened by teachings, believing that being seen as less-knowledgeable is a weakness or an insult to their egos. Consider this:
"It is where we don't know that we most grow. The know-it-all rarely grows at all".
I now know that when I face an audience, there are those open to hear thoughts and ideas that are challenging and there are those currently closed to new ideas. In fact, much of my presentations are designed to invite an opening, a vulnerability, by expressing my own, where new ideas may best find root. When we have our walls up, we are protecting our world-view from hurt and suffering, but we are also limiting our world-view because of the walls.
I am often humbled by this old saying: those who don't know, talk, and those who don't talk, know. Then I am reminded of something I heard from one of my teachers long ago:
"We teach most what we want to learn".
I am very much on this journey with you. I share my experiences to learn from them and hope they may serve you on your journey.
Where you don't know is where you can most grow. All of your possibilities are found in the “don't-know future”. And the more you seek certainty in that future, the less growth you will experience.
Those who are certain to not die in a car accident are those who stop driving.
Does the future excite you more than it scares you?
Is not the fear an invitation to grow?
I love these words from a song by the Clash: "Should I stay or should I go? If I go there could be trouble, if I stay it could be double".
Could not going mean less growing?
Could the more we go mean the MORE we grow? And could not growing double the trouble?
How often do you say No versus Yes and Why the choice? I am a fan of healthy boundaries and coming to know one’s weaknesses that truly could double the trouble by saying Yes - this is not an invitation for the knee-jerk reaction but, how many say No simply focusing on all that could go wrong? Isn’t it interesting that “jerk” is in the description? But it is an invitation to more courageously face what is in your present moment, rather than to flee it. Every yes is a no to something else – and vice-versa.
How open minded is the know-it-all?
The know-it-all rarely grows at all!
The Greeks believed a true-love relationship was achieved when each were committed to being both student and teacher.
May we, the Why Team, be fortified by this insight and continue to express our love - growing together - learning and teaching, teaching and learning.
Make it a great week,
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