No experience is EVER wasted. In no other profession is this more true than in teaching. But there are two caveats to that statement.
First, we have to be willing to learn from the experience. No matter how frustrating or unfair the circumstances seem to be at the time, our challenges will help us grow only if we are willing to learn from them. Sometimes we learn things we never even wanted to know. But in every experience there is something to learn.
Second, we have to be willing to share our failures with others. Why let our personal setbacks teach only a personal lesson? In no other profession can a setback be such an opportunity for learning. Being a teacher puts you in the perfect setting for helping others as a result of your past challenges. But you have to be willing to share. You have to show your students your vulnerabilities.
My experience has taught me that most young people think their parents have never made a mistake. That’s too often what we want them to think. But we teach our children the most when we allow them to know that we have made mistakes. We have survived those mistakes. We have learned from them.
When I taught urban kids, they believed that a teacher knew nothing about real life. Ha! I have not lived a charmed life…far from it. Parts of my life have been embarrassing. I’ve failed plenty. I’ve faced challenges and painful experiences that no one would choose. In fact, my past six weeks would provide material for a dramatic documentary. No vampires were involved, but this time period has supplied me with just about every other beast of a problem you could imagine.
Here’s my challenge for you for this week. Help someone who needs it, by sharing one of your failures or painful experiences from your own life. If you are a teacher, you won’t have to look far. One of your students is right now walking in shoes you have filled at one time in your life. Most times they won’t reveal their challenge to you until you have been brave enough to share your own with them.
Mission Possible: Your assignment, if you choose to accept it, is to change someone’s life by revealing your own human experience. (If you are old enough, you will hear the Mission Impossible theme music playing in your head right now. If I were just a little younger, I could probably figure out a way to insert it into this blog post). No matter what your age, I hope you are brave enough to accept this challenge.
TEACH…To Change Lives
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