Teachers, parents, employers, healthcare providers, and gurus: I’m talking to you. Each child, student, employee, or person in your tutelage looks to you for guidance. Why did you go into teaching, management, parenting, or healing?
I bet it was not to broadcast bitterness, burnout, negativity, or constrained thinking onto humanity. I imagine you were once full of optimism, and there are still rare moments that feel light.
Please remember, when you are guiding people through life, that somewhere along the line you acquired skills the person you are guiding does not yet have. Human nature is to have flaws. Insecurity, overconfidence, inauthenticity, judgment; all of these are normal mortal constraints.
Sometimes, we forget it’s our job to inspire and cultivate a desire to rise above these. Sometimes we struggle with them ourselves. Sometimes we’re flat tired of bad behavior. We become weary, too.
There are moments where ego, and our own bad behavior, takes the reins. We have to keep showing up with patience, grace, and the lessons. It’s part of the gig. Remember, there are other gigs. We get to choose where we spend our time in this life.
Our unskilled pupils will bring chaos to the court and dunk it on us from time to time. In your well-rested, well-balanced, well-grounded moments, you’ll remember one thing; these are teachable moments. When you’re weary, you’ll forget.
There will be times when we react, being mere mortals and all. On the other side of a teachable moment lies an invitation. We teach, we lead, and we learn. Teachable moments give way to learnable moments. It’s an exchange.
Often it is the most unskilled individuals who clarify, very quickly, where the holes are in our armor.
Your reactions are human and you are human. When someone finds the hole in your armor, high five them for showing you where you’ll be able to grow wiser, stronger, and more gracious. A simple thank you is sufficient.
If you’ve read this far, thank you. I believe your heart is in the right place. Please remember:
Every teachable moment, neck deep in chaos, is an opportunity to reinforce one of two ideas:
You are a good kid, or person, who made a mistake and it’s going to be ok.
You are a bad person.
Most young humans inherently scan the environment for evidence that they are either good or bad. It’s innate. We all bear light and darkness; it’s confusing. Many, and I’d argue even most of us, tend to feel unworthy.
The tricky part is, you’d never guess that some of the most destructive people are grappling with things unwieldy: a sparsity of love–self love or the unconditional love we all need to thrive; a blight of the spirit; darkness deep enough to suffocate all best intentions.
They are out of gas but can’t stop running. Forgive them, show them grace, and hold them firmly accountable nonetheless.
Because it’s not about a free pass.
It’s about how you give the gift of dignity. It’s about how you accept your own deficits and work with them once they’ve come to light. It’s about how you double down on the commitment you made to foster growth and insight, and bring light into humanity, even when that work is more difficult than you ever imagined it would be. Thank you, all.