I believe the first time I heard this quote When the student is ready, the teacher will appear, I was listening to an interview with Wayne Dyer – one of the great teachers of life. I have thought of these words often since hearing the phrase, especially in moments I desire my life story to change. That is, in those moments where I feel there is a disconnect between my current situation and what I desire. There have also been times when I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the teachers who have appeared. Now I try to always be a student who is ready.
Teachers have the potential to impact your life story to tell. It is important this person be a good teacher, someone who has the experience to know better and is able to assess and give you advice. Consciously and wisely choose your teachers. In the previous post (110), you were encouraged to seek and identify good teachers, individuals who you believe help you mature in a positive direction. Have you thought about whose advice you follow? Have you thought about who can lead you in positive directions? Have you thought about how your interactions with this person allow the learning to occur? (Post 109)
As important as it is to find good teachers, the first part of this quote is key: when the student is ready. Ultimately, learning is what you do as a student. The teacher may be able to help your growth happen faster. A teacher can light the way and ease the way, but you as the learner have to be curious enough to walk the path. You have to be the student willing to learn.
How open are you to learning new ideas? Do you have a mindset of curiosity? Do you walk the path of a learner intentionally?
If you’ve ever experienced trying to be a teacher of a resistant student, you may understand how important it is for the student to be willing. Have you ever tried to help someone who is interacting with a closed mind, not willing to consider new ideas? Bottom line: The student who is not curious to hear new ideas will not learn. It does not matter how good the teacher is when the student is not ready and willing to learn.
How willing are you to be a learner? Are you hoping you learn what you need in life? Or do you actively seek opportunities to learn and know better? Are you willing to be a student when you interact with others?
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. How about we all try to be students today? Every interaction, be a student and try to learn something new. What teachers appear?
How often do you hear, and maybe say, “He needs to learn his lesson!” What are you thinking, and how are you behaving when these words are used?
Are you thinking (then saying and doing) with “I’ll show you how wrong your actions are in this situation?”
“What I see here is not what is best for you, I need to give you an opportunity to possibly learn a new thought or behavior … I need to provide a valuable lesson.”
The first response you are telling someone; the latter you are T.E.L.L.ing someone.
Similarly, what does it mean when you say or hear: “That was a valuable lesson.” Doesn’t it mean you lived through an experience in which you learned something new? You grew personally, and now you realize the benefits of living through a situation. The experience added personal value to your life.
When interacting with our youth, we are the ones who can T.E.L.L. them valuable lessons. Depending on what we think (say and do), the lessons we provide can add value to their life. The child will probably not recognize and say “That was a valuable lesson,” but they are learning all the same. Today, let’s keep in mind our children need to learn their lessons!
To name a few, children need to learn valuable lessons in self-control, kindness, recognizing (and avoiding) potential traps, receiving constructive correction and complements, patience, honesty, and perseverance.
Look for the opportunities to Show & T.E.L.L. a child a beneficial lesson. Which lesson will you focus on today?
Becoming more aware is the first step in improving. We can always do better at leading our children toward a better, brighter future.
My experience has been, the more you pause and think about how you Teach, Encourage, Listen, and Love a child, your understanding of the practices associated with positively interacting with children will broaden. This is the mission of T.E.L.L. our children: to broaden a caretaker’s perspective for interacting with our youth.
To begin T.E.L.L.ing a child, start by asking questions to help you evaluate the quality of your interactions with your child. By asking questions, you will pause and reflect on your interactions. You can ask questions such as the following:
#1 – What do I say or do that positively influences my child’s thinking and/or behavior?
#2 – Do I simply react without thinking, or do I communicate with a positive intention – a desire to Teach, Encourage, Listen, and Love?
#3 – Do my words and actions make sense to the child, or am I just assuming it does?
#4 – Do I allow my child to express his or her point of view, or does my point of view dominate our conversation?
The answers to these questions can help you become more aware of the every day interactions you have with children. Learning to Teach, Encourage, Listen, and Love (T.E.L.L.) your child may seem simple, and to some degree it is. However, my experience has been it takes time and attention.
First, we begin by thinking about our interactions. Once we become more aware, we begin to apply and practice better ways. Some people I work with find they need to think more deeply about not reacting (question #2) and only allowing their point of view to be part of the conversation (question #4). Others realize they need to be more encouraging or loving, especially when they are feeling tired and frustrated (question #1). Begin to T.E.L.L. your child by becoming more aware of how you are communicating with your child today.
Some of you may say “my child is too young for me to consider these ideas.” A woman once said to me “this makes sense once my child reaches about 4 or 5 years old.” This caused me ask another question: “doesn’t it always matter what we say and do, even when our child can’t talk back?”
From a child’s first breath, he or she begins accumulating experiences. What you say and do for the child does influence how they feel and learn what to expect. Sure, the infant may not be able to make sense of your actions or express his or her point of view; however, you might ask yourself “Am I allowing this baby to see how I wish to Teach, Encourage, Listen, and Love them today and every day?”
Start today. Ask yourself questions that allow you to think more deeply about your current interactions with children. What do you do well? Where can you do better? Becoming more aware is the first step in improving. We can always do better at leading our children toward a better, brighter future.