I just had a time-management session with my daughter Maggie, a genius at making messy schedules work. Maggie does not only teach me time management. She makes sure I stop working and take breaks. She teaches me what passion looks like. And, on top of it all, she is the best listener I've ever met.
As I think of my daughter, I realize something important. It doesn't only "take a village" to raise a child. It takes a village to teach us the lessons we need to navigate life. Our teachers are not just leadership development professionals, organizational leaders, pastors, or coaches. They are our loved ones, our family members, our friends. They are the composers whose songs reach us just at the right time. The writers whose brilliant books combine just the right words. The movie directors and actors who bring brilliant stories to life.
Right now, The Game of Thrones is my teacher. George R. R. Martin, all the show directors, all the actors - they teach me about leadership gone bad, human complexities, and moral dilemmas. The Game of Thrones also teaches me to be playful in my teaching; I use the series as an inspiration for a class I am teaching now. Why not discuss Kantianism by exploring the adventures of one Ned Stark or apply Utilitarian principles to Lord Varys' pragmatic actions?
My students are my teachers. They teach me through their blogs, discussions, and reflections. They teach me when they smile, clearly enjoying a class activity. They teach me when they look bored or tired. They teach me that learning requires involvement and interaction. Learning is an active affair.
My husband is my teacher. He teaches me not to fret about the small stuff. He teaches me to stop and enjoy the moment. To let life unfold without questioning it too much.
Even my furry family members are my teachers. Friskey, the cat, teaches me to respect my wants and needs. Bambi, the playful little chihuahua, still a rambunctious puppy, forces me to stop working and start playing. And our big girl Buffy, a majestic Great Pyrenee-German Wireterrier mix, teaches me to be kind to little sisters, to be calm, to just live.
My question to you: Who are the teachers in your village? Who helps you learn and keep growing? And what lessons did your teachers share today?
Dr. Cris Wildermuth
Dr. Cris Wildermuth is Linked:HR's Community Leader and an Associate Professor at Drake University, where she directs the Master of Science in Leadership Development. You may find out more about Dr. Wildermuth's leadership development, ethics, and intercultural development consulting practice at THIS PAGE.