The Best lessons Have Little to Do With School

When my kids were younger, I used to try to teach them various lessons.  I am sure they wanted to look at this as a form of parental torture.  I believe I was merely helping them to see a good lesson.  How did I do this?  By helping everyone to get involved.

When my youngest son brought home a violin from the school orchestra he was learning to play, I took it from him and made his 2 brothers play it for an hour.  He was furious because his orchestra leader had told everyone not to let their siblings play with the violins.  I did so to teach a lesson.

My father in law asked me how we could stand the noise of the scratchy violin.  I felt bad, because although I Knew what I was doing, I did not have the right words to explain it to him.

When the family car died in the spring of one year, we spent some time using the bus.  When the boys, then, teenagers, made fun of the people riding the bus and how terrible they were, I took notice.  The boys wanted me to get a new car right away so that they would not have to ride the bus with those awful people.  I seemed to not find a car until the fall that year.  I could have, I just had a lesson I needed to teach first.

I do not want you to think all lessons are taught from parents to children.  My boys have taught me wonderful and poignant lessons, many of which I still remember and use to this day.

Teaching and learning are never one sided.  Education and learning are fluid and happen in all directions between everyone involved.  We pay large sums for formal education, and yet, at least for me, informal education seems to be far more valuable and noteworthy.

What were the lessons I taught to my kids?  Empathy.

Author: Mike Balof

Mike Balof, MEd, develops intensive, interactive courses which have helped contract manufacturing and nonprofit institutions. He taught youth and adults seeking employment to better represent themselves, leading many of them to successful careers. Mike taught in corporate training, teaching adults and high school students to build computers, work as a team, and to identify and fix problems using a myriad of tools from Total Quality Management(TQM), to 8-D, to Six Sigma. Mike now turns his talents to helping fellow veterans reach their objectives and desires through continuous performance improvement. As we start to live in a post knowledge world, where a doubling of common knowledge shrinks from months to days, our essential skills will include how we interact with those around us. Mike believes there is hope for growth and opportunity for everyone. Everyone has the opportunity to retool and find the career they want. Mike strives to present students of all ages, abilities, and means with a full plate of options for learning.

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