Teachers Everywhere Posted on 18 Sep 16:58
I’ve found teachers in and outside of classrooms. While I used to think education was relegated to formal experience only, I know better now. It’s no stretch to suggest that every day people possess wisdom and understanding. We’re surrounded by unlikely teachers everywhere—folks who can teach us something more about happiness, about living well and loving better.
Currently, my best teacher is my son Luke. He’s a sage sixty-something masquerading as an eight-year-old boy—I’m sure of it. Technically speaking, Luke is crippled. I don’t see him that way; I’m reminded of the fact when others stare without restraint. We don’t ever use words like disability or handicap in our house. In fact, if the term special needs surfaces, honestly it could refer to any one of us. The best part is that while Luke is smart enough to know that he has a mountain to climb with canes in hand, there is no part of him that questions whether or not he can do it. His determination is indefatigable. His will is indomitable. I have an everyday reminder of what courage looks like: it’s nearly four feet tall, legs bent, feet not flush with the ground, smile’s wide, with heart and head in hopeful synchronicity. Luke is teaching me to tackle the tough stuff with unflinching resolve. He’s giving me perspective too. He has certainly taught me something more about being happy and loving better.
We would do well to remember this story from endearing author and medical pioneer Rachel Naomi Remen:
I can clearly remember something that happened when I was in the third grade. I was walking with my mother on a downtown street in New York City, pushing through crowds on our way to I no longer remember where. I had just been put into a special class at school because I had done well on an IQ test, and my new teacher told us that being in her class meant that we were brighter than most people in the country. As we moved through the hurrying crowds, I remembered this and was filled with an eight-year-old’s outrageous pride. I told my mother that my teacher had said that I was smarter than most of the people around us. She stopped walking immediately and knelt down so that we were at eye level with each other. As the crowd flowed past us on either side, she told me that every one of the people around us had a secret wisdom.
I looked up at the people passing by. They were all adults. ‘Is this because they are all grown-ups, Mama?’ I asked her, taken aback. ‘No, darling. It will always be that way,’ she told me. ‘It is how things are.’ I looked again at the crowd moving around us. Suddenly I wanted to know them all, to learn from them, to be friends…I had a sense of the value of every life.
Here at atly, we’ve gone to great lengths to find everyday teachers who not only educate, but who also inspire—the kind of teachers we want to know, to learn from, to be friends with even. Won’t you join us in the quest to pursue education for the whole of our lives? We invite you to take a class via atly. If you have a skill or hobby, please consider building a class alongside the rest of our teachers. Together we can create a place of influence where we improve ourselves and inspire one another. We’ll garner PhDs in kind if we seek out teachers everywhere.