“I am not a teacher: only a fellow-traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead — ahead of myself as well as of you.” ~ George Bernard Shaw …
It is easy to get caught limiting ourselves and our abilities by defining our roles at certain points in our lives. As a child, for instance, although my parents taught me many things, I had always assumed that they were the teachers and I was merely a learning child. Yet now, as a parent with children myself, I realize that parents, too, are learning a great deal from their children, and that we all are teachers and learners at every stage in our lives. This makes us all fellow-travelers in life. One is no greater than the other is; rather, in fellowship, we are each travelling our own paths toward the same destination.
As we live our lives each day, we each must decide how we fulfill the roles of teacher and learner with those around us. This means being aware of the ways in which we teach others–through love and compassion… or through criticism, ridicule, judgment, anger, harsh words, and violence. Trying to force our lessons on others, instead of helping them to realize the lesson itself, is generally ineffective, and usually ensures they will not be learned, nor accepted, and therefore are never passed on to benefit our fellow-travelers in life.
Be open to both teaching and learning in life. We are all learners, so we must have compassion and understanding for those who are still learning what we may already know. And we all have lessons to teach and things to share that will never be accepted if we do not teach them with respect, compassion, and genuine concern. The way in which we treat others around us each day, will define our ability to be effective, or ineffective, teachers and learners in life.
Treat everyone as your equal.
Questions to consider:
Why might we often label ourselves and slip into pre-defined roles throughout our lives? Does this benefit us at all?
Why do we generally prefer to treat others as learners? Does this make our teaching any easier or more effective?
What can we teach to others today? What can we learn? How can we do so in a way that recognizes the value and worth of their unique journey in life?
For further thought:
“Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know it just as well as you do. We are all learners, doers, and teachers.” ~ Richard Bach