Sometimes teachers teach us more about ourselves by way of their own imperfections than any practiced lesson ever could.
In a moment of unguarded conversation, a friend of mine slipped back into an old place of self doubt and insecurity at a critical moment for a potential new student. Someone he did not yet know approached him in the hopes of learning, studying and developing under his wing. He came to him with hands and heart wide open and instead of receiving the same back, what he got instead was a swift slap to the face. Unbeknownst to this eager new pupil, my friend the teacher had stepped off the speakers podium and instead tripping over the stairs, he fumbled over his own self worth and landed head first into a puddle of self doubt. The part of him that holds a strong space and container for others, failed him and he collapsed into a space of self deprecation at a critical juncture.
Instead of receiving this student’s expression of interest graciously, he flippantly dismissed it. Speaking not from his true self but that insecure place that takes over the head and hijacks the mouth, he struck this student down with a harsh reply. Out came words of unintended rejection that caused great hurt and most unfortunately, a potentially irrevocable retreat of this student’s spirit back inside. There is a great amount of power to positively or negatively affect the growth of a student when one approaches a teacher with desire to be lead. These are vulnerable moments of great courage that expose a deep seated need and request for help. As a result, a great opportunity to reinforce, reward and nurture the new growth of this potential student was lost and the instead of opening up, he instantly shutdown and retreated away.
The good news is, teachers like all of us are human which is to say they too make mistakes, have flaws and act badly. If however they’re a good teacher, they will take these opportunities to push for their own improvement and pursue ever greater learning. They are not Gods to be put up on pedestills and worshiped, instead they are to be learned from in whatever form their teachings come. In this case, my friend slipped up. His insecurity got the best of him and he spoke from a dark place within that he too is working to overcome. The real opportunity that exists now is for this teacher to truly teach from a place of greater honesty. Its up to him to go back to this student, hat in hand and humbly admit his mistake, express his regret and reveal a few of his own short comings. He made a blunder and has a chance to invite this student back in by sharing with him, his own process of learning. Its not about saving face, its about saving the most important process we are all apart of in this world, self growth and evolution. Its a chance to confront another from a place of great compassion and take responsibility in a way that requires that teachers themselves become bigger than our mistakes. It requires stepping up and reaching out in a true act of humanity.
In the end we all teachers, and all students just trying to make our way in this crazy world. Staying out of self doubt and belittlement is important, but learning the art of humility is one of the greatest feats of all!