Before You Teach

There’s a sign in a Boy Scout camp down in Alabama, and it says:

You can’t teach what you don’t know

like you can go back to where you ain’t been

Poor grammar aside, it is a truism. To teach one of the most significant requirements is that you actually know what you’re talking about. And yet, it is not the only requirement.

To teach others, you need to meet them where they are. After you have the connection, then you can guide them to wherever they need to go. Failure to do so would mean a collapse in the transfer of knowledge. And that could happen no matter how knowledgeable the instructor is.

The greatest thing you could have in teaching others is to know and understand those you are working with. Until that understanding occurs, more likely than not, there merely groups of people trying to search for something in the dark.

The question becomes if you are writing a course, how do you really know your audience and what they need? The answer to that is easier than you think. You need to go out and interact with them.

Many people miss the step because they think it can’t be done or is very hard to do. Yet, is one of the easiest things in the entire training process. To know your students, you just need to go out and communicate with them, be with them, empathize with them. Then, you will know how to teach them and what they need to learn.

Where and how you may ask? If you’re teaching people, who build computers, go to the factory and be on the line with those people for a while as they build the computers. If you’re writing lessons for vets, go to veterans organizations and military bases, and maybe a bar or two near those places.

Coffee houses are great places to learn about other potential students and what they have to live with on a daily basis. Restaurants, parks, charities, organizations, and meet-ups are just a few of the places you could go to talk to people and learn something before you teach others.

Worried you’ll be ignored? Say hi a time or two, and you may be surprised. Offer to buy somebody a cup of coffee, and then listen to what they say. Watch their mannerisms. Their timber and emotion in the voice will tell you where the pain points really are.

When you teach somebody something, you are actually offering them a better way to deal with the pain point. Students need to know something which you are going to teach them so they can do something better. And that relieves the irritation, pain, or worry.

In doing this preliminary work, you are actually removing your own worry, stress, and pain points. Because once you have done this learning about your students, you have made your own work of teaching much easier to accomplish.

You Are Worthy

Hello, and thank you for being here with us.

It is hard to believe that a morning that started off at 29° as it did today will end up in the mid-70’s this afternoon will be a good day to go work in the yard.

Everybody in this world has a worth. It is easy to feel as though some people have a higher worth and some people have a lower worth. Yet, each person’s worth is actually very important. Each person has the ability to do that one thing that no one else can do the way they can.

Do not feel as though your worth is more or less, all worths are actually equal. This is because we are a very interactive society. What one person does affect a multitude of others. Far more than you might imagine.

Think of the ace fighter pilot who flies dangerous missions and protects our country. He is an expert at what he does. Yet, so is the airman who fuels his plane, or another airman who ensures the air and the tires of the plane are correct. Each part of the team has an important job to do. And without everyone working together the plane would never make it into the air.

The same is true of doctors who count on their medical teams and their schedulers. And, the higher you go in life and work, the more you count on those around you to ensure whatever you are doing is done right.

Never count yourself out or hold a one-person pity party.  You are far too good and far to needed for that.  Instead, look at what your special skills are (everyone has some) and work on making those skills mean the most to those around you.

You are Special – You are Unique – You are needed

Pass the Good Along

Good morning.

It is very hard sometimes for us to understand how lucky we are. When half the population of the earth has never made a phone call or watch television or has been able to turn the faucet and have clean drinking water, we are truly blessed.

You can say that these blessings are arduous work and planning. And, you are right, yet they are still blessings.

If we are able to call up any fact in a matter of minutes, call someone and talk about anything we wish, or see anything of interest within the world or outside of it any time we want to, then we are significantly endowed. We cannot pay back those who came before us and set all these marvels into play. Just as real founders put new ideas into motion realizing they will never reap the full benefits of their actions, it is up to us to put into action right for our futures sake.

It is said that with great abilities comes great responsibilities. Just as our forefathers and foremothers worked hard that we may benefit, so too, we need to strive so that our prodigy can see and say the same about us. Everyone can take part in this endeavor. For how many of us can freely give a smile or a kind word, and how many of us could easily do some small good deed?

ENOUGH

What we are doing in our schools today is giving voice to those who for one reason or another wish to disrupt our system of life in our country. As we broadcast and focus on each terrorist act within school systems, we give other want-to-be terrorists a platform on which to terrorize us.

One and the only thing that I see the latest school got right is that the students themselves have had enough of this. The students stood up and said this must stop.  And yes, indeed it must.  The students are doing this the right way by working with their legislatures.

 I trained with the M 22, which is the equivalent of the AR 15. I was lucky enough as a Cold War warrior, never to have to fire it in anger. And yet I cannot believe today that someone needs to have this warrior style weapon to hunt, they are embarrassing themselves.

If you can’t shoot a duck or a deer with a shotgun because it doesn’t hold enough shells, you should be denied a weapon on that fact alone. If you need 30 round clips to keep varmints from digging up your garden, you should really be shopping in the fresh vegetable aisle at your local grocery store. While you’re there, if you’re actually using that big clip to get the duck or the deer, we suggest a quick detour over to the meat counter. Think of what you’ll save in ammunition.

I agree with those on The Hill who said these weapons of war are not needed for our day-to-day lives. We know this because we’ve seen other countries where heavy weaponry is part of their day-to-day life. We see these countries almost nightly on the news. What countries do you see on the news with which have their citizens walking around with AK-47’s, RPG’s, and heavy caliber machine guns? Their cities and Villages sure look worse for the wear and tear on them.  Is that what we want for our country? To live in the rubble?

Allow me to ask a question for you to think on today.

What came first the weapon, or the war?

 

Please write a comment and tell me what you think.

 

More Control within

We hold more control than we ever know.

We’re pushed on by forces beyond our control every day. We do not have to bend to those forces. And most times, it is better if we do not. The forces at play are concerned about themselves, what their needs and desires are, and how they achieve through the skillful use of others.

We have to do this because of the money. We should really be doing that because of politics. We should be doing the other because of the neighbors… It seems as though demands are never-ending and resources are often meager at best.

With all of the above going on in our lives, I would just like to offer a thought. What if we didn’t? What if we gave up on letting others tell us to do this, that, and the other?

I’m not saying not to do anything. I’m talking about finding new voices to guide you. We always follow voices different than us, mainly because they’re different than us. We assume their difference makes them better. I believe I have found something even better than them.

I’m not saying to forget conventional wisdom. I am saying to look inside find that quiet voice within you. Not the one screaming in your head saying you’re doing everything wrong, rather the quiet voice, and consider it.

Do good for yourself and your family, and others. Strive to better yourself. And, help others to find that good within themselves. The real treasures in life aren’t things, the real treasures are the times we share with each other.

What Am I Working On

Ever have a day where everything seems to fall apart as soon as you touch it? The big desk computer has a two-hour patch it started automatically. The laptop is fussy and hard to bring up and wants to give a continuous grief. The iPad beckons, and as you try to use it for business, it directs you towards games. There’s only one thing to do.

Dude? You have a fast desktop, a 64-bit dual core laptop, and an iPad. The last thing you should be doing is whining about anything. If you have all that, you have what it takes to run an empire. Just think about how many great people started with so much less. And how far they rose with many of them having none of those three items.

 It’s important every day that I look in the mirror, and remind myself first off how lucky I am. Secondly, and most importantly, I need to remind myself it’s not about me. It’s about doing well for the others whom I help.

When we are given things or given the ability to earn them, then much is expected from us in return. And rightly so. For as we rise in our status, just as we were helped by people before us (and yes, we were helped,) it is up to us to reach out a hand and help those behind us.

We have to remember that even the highest person cannot go any higher until the lowliest person takes that next step up.

The question isn’t what’s working, the question is what am I working on to help the next person.

We change with the times

We have talked about the fact that nothing lasts forever. Even the glass bottle that we drink from and the glass vase that holds our flowers is actually in a liquid form very slowly, forever changing. And so we have a choice. As everything changes around us do we accept the fact and change with it? Or, do we put a stick in the sand and say, “Here I stand.”

We see this all the time. Because of this, some people are labeled as old fogies. Other people are just dismissed out of hand as not knowing because it was not of their generation. The truth is, it depends. It is actually up to you. Do you keep with the old times? Do you learn and grow and go with the new times? I vote for the latter. I am too young of the mind to start living in yesteryear and begin believing there are no worthwhile changes.

We see others, and sometimes ourselves, occasionally get stuck in the past. Does that mean we are forever doomed to live the life of what happened at the high school football game? Counting the rivets on a B-52 in North Dakota? The pain of a hangover a day after the frat party? The patrol that went sideways? Or whatever else is burdensome on our mind? I really don’t think we have to do that.

We have a choice. For me, I choose to remember the past, learn and live in the now, and celebrate the possibilities of the future.  We remember in order not fall into the same traps or repeat mistakes. Now is where I live. If I am not happy with now, I learned so that I can change it. I also learn to prepare my path into the future.

Right now I should not be living in the past nor in the future. Right now, I should live, except, and enjoy where and what I am now. I do this knowing that like glass, I am not a solid. Rather, I am something that is continually learning, growing, and reshaping my destiny.