Some cultures suggest or imply that lessons and insights only come from the elders. The fundamental premise is that the starting point for being a teacher is age (gray hairs), experience (well travelled), and scars (failures). I look in the mirror and see this and wonder where the lessons in my life originate. There is a harsh reality that while these factors helps, I learn equally well from individuals who are willing to share. With each, I find myself living the role of a student. Insights, questions, and observations trigger moments of learning. The sources are anyone will to share and walk with another.
Recent teachers include some young enthusiasts that do not really know why they are asking questions. They do know that they do not understand. They feel emboldened by an standing invitation for Q&A. Their questions have triggered other questions that I do not think they imagined. The outcome is that I see life differently and new actions have come as a result.
Other teachers included a group that just listened to stories and told ones of their own. With each, an insight was born. I am not sure anyone saw these as teaching opportunities. Perhaps part of the power of the stories rests in their innocence and purity. The outcome is that I see life differently and new actions have come as a result.
A third group has listened to me and challenged. Some of the challenges have obvious answers. Others have pushed me to take a fresh look at old assumptions. Each has taken me to a new place. The outcome is that my perspective is richer, deeper, and more informed. Actions are changing as a result! With each learning experience, I have discovered new ways we can work together to make the future better.
I owe each a debt. In ways they never imagined, they “taught me how to sing the latest God-song, a praise-song to our God. More and more people are seeing this: they enter the mystery, abandoning themselves to God.” (Psalm 40.3) A new story has begun.