My definition of teachers also includes coaches, mentors, and pretty much anybody that provides me with an opportunity to learn. For example, in the past few months I have come to realise that our builder is a great teacher for me. Let’s call him James. He is a kind and patient man who knows how to handle, and respond to older people when they are being overly concerned about things I would consider to be small. I have seen him do this with a number of other older adults. I think he does more than just building work, he also provides a community service in supporting older people to talk and converse.
I asked him about his approach to work, and James replied “I always put my heart into everything I do.” For me, that was really interesting because here we have somebody doing painting and decorating... but doing it with his heart! I think it shows his approach to work always seems to have more care and attention than I have seen from other builders I have seen!
In some ways there may also be a negative side to approaching work with your heart. It may mean that you put too much effort into small things and therefore aim for perfectionism, as opposed to doing a job well done. As a sufferer of the perfectionist’s curse I know that aiming too high is not always a good thing! And in my view perfectionism is something that does not exist for humanity, it is reserved for our Creator.
The other thing I really respect about James is that he cares so dearly about his family. Whenever I have heard him speak about his wife and children he always does it with a great deal of care and reverence. I have a lot of respect for people who appreciate the relationships that they have.
And lastly James is always on time. I am not quite sure how he does it but I have never seen him be late, punctuality is a very powerful tool in my mind. It shows respect, seriousness, and care and attention to the person you are meeting.
The things that I have learnt from James or are to be patient and kind, and to always take care in your work. Of course these are things that I already know, but a reminder every now and then is always welcome!
Next time you have a service provider come into your house, or business, why not reflect on the way that they are performing their role, the job they are doing, and think about what you can learn from them yourself.
I believe that our teachers are everywhere, we just have to open ourselves up to the possibility of learning from people who we may not usually learn from.
If you have a story about somebody who has taught you a lesson in an unusual way please let me know and perhaps we can feature that in this series on teachers. I would love to know more about you and your teachers so please comment below.