I am here with my baby and husband in Luxembourg for two weeks. My husband is here for work, and the days are for me and E. To do what we want. The fact is, we do pretty much the same things. Again and again: wake up, eat, change diaper, walk, play, nap, repeat( in not usually the same order). So I have been thinking about repetition and its role in learning and teaching this is just the first of many reflections on this topic, so be forewarned
Most people get really annoyed when they have to repeat themselves; it can bring up all sorts of emotional, psychological and even spiritual feelings for us: no one listens to me, they don’t understand me, why do I have to be the one to say the truth all the time? Why am I the only one who gets this?
So frequently, I hear my students and clients share their frustrations with me about being misunderstood, forgotten, ignored, or invisible attached to- or completely unrelated(on the surface at least) to teaching. So often, these feelings, if left to their own devices, can transform into prolonged habitual resentments, fears, and anger.
But what is it really that may be going on here? Why do so many of us feel this way?
Well, there is no universal answer; however something I observed that seems to be fairly ubiquitous is a confusion in our minds and hearts about what and when we are teaching, guiding, or leading others and the inability, or rather the insecurity that arises when we find ourselves in the fairly common situation of being a leader or teacher in some moment in our lives.
The traditional western education system programs us behaviorally to assume the position of ‘student’ much more readily than the position of ‘teacher.’ In fact, very rarely, if at all, does this system encourage ‘students’ to embody their innate ‘teacher’ role, a role and identity that is actually inherent in all of us and even from an evolutionary perspective: vital for our survival.
This poses a major issue, because life is a continual dynamic conversation between the teacher within us and the world and the student within us and the world. Both skillsets are needed for balance and ‘success;’ however not enough cultures service, or even acknowledge the inherent value in grooming the teacher/ leader part of us, and those that do often place hierarchies on the role of teacher/leader, replete with expectations and conditions designed to control and filter out the ‘weak’ or rather those less fluent in their own self mastery as a leader.
Once we finish our ‘schooling,’ we are prepared, but only in a very specific way. This system of learning prepares us to be in ‘student/learning’ mode but only under a very limited set of circumstances. No where does it prepare for the interpersonal experience of being a teacher in our daily life.
But really, let’s get reductive here. All teaching is is repetition. Over. And over, and then some some. So give pause. The next time you find yourself getting annoyed at someone for repeating something to them.
Give pause, because in you there is the student-teacher learning to ease into your identity and fluency as a teacher. Learning comes in all shapes and sizes and experiences, and if you have never honed your teaching and leadership skills in your day to day life, your inner teacher may find repetition a bit challenging. How can you view it differently, feed it a new chance to allow your leader self to emerge from you and out from all of the pre-conditioned expectations, so you may actually embrace your Self with more balance?