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  • Writer's picturePeter Humphris

What do we teach – What do you teach?

When I first saw this quote it rang a bell with me, and I reflected on past ‘teaching experiences’ and ‘teachers’ that had shaped me.

During the Covid-19 pandemic I’ve been locked down twice with my grandkids, home schooling and keeping them engaged during restricted times, and this has given me another opportunity to ‘see’ what ‘teaching’ is all about.

Sure, children learn from the traditional school lessons, they acquire knowledge and skills, and schooling should not be undervalued. But they also learn (arguably mostly learn) from the example of those they encounter on life’s journey.

We all know that you can ‘tell’ kids over and over again the same thing, but somehow, they never seem to ‘hear’; and that’s maybe because they are copying us rather than listening to us!

Where do kids learn to get angry, selfish, untidy, moody; where do they learn to be caring, generous, loving, happy?

It can be sobering to realise that kids copy us!

And the quote above does not just relate to the parent child relationship, it pervades our relationships at all levels, and is even identified in global politics.

What do we ‘learn’ from the ‘way we are’ rather than what we say we are; consider:

1. The USA and the war on terror, and “For every one American killed by an act of terror in the United States or abroad in 2014, more than 1,049 died because of guns.

2. The Australian refugee policy and the words of the national anthem “For those who've come across the seas, We've boundless plains to share, With courage let us all combine, To advance Australia fair

What we say (teach) is not necessarily what others will learn from us, our way of being is far more visible than we might think.

Some of our kids in Nepal have horrific backgrounds, and now they have an opportunity to learn a different way of being and behaving: by our being, we are giving them a new life orientation, we are giving ‘life’ where before there was no hope of any future.

In seeking to find our better selves, and create a better tomorrow, we need to look within and discover the acts of creativity, generosity, and hospitality that we can demonstrate to all around us.

That inner stock-take might also reveal how we have been shaped and limited by those who have influenced us; and in today’s world that influence is magnified by the many media streams we all attend to.

As we watch our children soak up the examples given to them by significant people in their lives, it is sobering to realise the influence we each have on each other.

The children looked after and supported by IGWR-Nepal

are influenced by our generosity, each act of giving is an

act of love that will shape their future.

That’s a powerful way to make a difference in today’s world!

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