Imagine a beautiful Spring day. Feel the gentle wind blow through your hair. Smell fresh scents of blooming flowers. Each tree carries a shade of green -- unique to itself. You can hear the symphonic melodies of birds rejoicing. Spring is here.
You imagine those moments and a smile spreads across your face. Why? Perhaps in those moments, you feel FREE! We strive for that freedom every day. Time Freedom. Financial Freedom. Personal Freedom. Spiritual Freedom. In fact, we strive and courageously face difficulties in our journey. Sometimes we insist to learn the hard way. Why do we persist and endure hardships? Perhaps it's so we can gather moments of FREEDOM like pearls on a string.
Let me turn the table around. Are you a teacher? A consultant? A healer? What about a coach, team lead, speaker? A parent or grandparent? Yes, every day, each of us is responsible for imparting knowledge, skills, information etc …. to others. Our intent is to deliver so the others get EXACTLY what we're saying or can 100% mimic the behaviors we teach. Right?
Hold on. Not so fast!
An elder in our community recently asked, "How does a teacher measure success?" Sure, it's important that students effectively learn content. But is the effectiveness of a teacher measured by how well the student regurgitates what's taught?
Hmm. Let me tell you a story….
I danced in a modern dance company, decades ago. As a Chemical Engineering student, dancing was a welcome balance to physics, calculus and thermodynamics. I LOVED to dance. I was pretty good, too. I pushed boundaries as any good student does. But one day was different than any other. I remember it like it was yesterday.
It was a rainy day which made the rehearsal studio a little darker than usual. Carol, the main choreographer for our company, had chosen me to be in one of her pieces. Quite an honor! Through the course of learning new choreography, dancers often suggest subtle changes to the choreography. Carol was particularly open to the creative flow. That day, I could feel that creative voice inside me grow and grow. I felt connected. I made a suggestion. Then another. I was on FIRE! More and more suggestions poured out of me. Until Carol pulled me aside from the other dancers and declared,
It is time.
She explained that when a dancer has so many good suggestions, it is time. Time for the dancer to become … choreographer. On the spot, she challenged me to choreograph my own piece for the Spring show. A ballroom piece. Why not a comedic ballroom piece. What? Have you ever seen a ballroom comedy? Yea, me neither.
I choreographed to Johann Strauss' Viennese Waltz, The Blue Danube. The piece was called Dream-Real. I have a terrible Betamax recording of it. May it never hit the internet!!
Bottom line, though, is that Carol was an EXCELLENT teacher. Why? Because she realized she had taught me all she could. Or at least all I was willing to consume. Her last instruction for me was a challenge. A way for me to express what had never been done before. She tapped into the creativity of her dancer. And I was never the same. I had become ….. a choreographer!
A great teacher takes their student BEYOND instruction. They meticulously … teach, coach, consult, advise, parent … the necessary tools and equipment for a journey that takes them … BEYOND. They eventually navigate their own way. Express their unique feelings. Create their own innovations.
This is FREEDOM, right? Freedom to express. Freedom to create. Freedom to be their most unique, authentic and best Self.
Teaching isn't about regurgitating information, mimicking behaviors of the coach or even learning the rules. These are just steps along the way to give our students, our clients, our customers, our children, our grandchildren …. FREEDOM
We, then, are AGENTS of FREEDOM.
Close your eyes and imagine…. breeze going through THEIR hair on a beautiful Spring day.