Sunday, September 15, 2013

Tip #61: Be open to new teachers

Last May, I saw a documentary named Living on One Dollar. It looked like something that could be useful for my classes, as it was about four young Americans traveling to Guatemala, and experiencing the life of the poor in that country. Well, I really enjoyed it, did show it to some of my students, who also really liked it, and then got to work trying to find the funding to bring the two young creators (two of the students in the film) to our campus so our students could have a chance to meet them and be inspired. I'm glad to say that they will be in Sacred Heart University this Wednesday (Sept. 18th, 2013) at 7:00 pm, just in case any of you also want to see them. But, fret not if you can't, as they also happen to have a TED Talk that they gave in Buenos Aires, Argentina, last year, before the launching of their documentary and the campaign which has followed,

There are many inspiring messages for young people from their adventure, like follow your dreams, don't just think about things but do something about them, friends together can do incredible things, and so on. But in this tip, I just wanted to point out something that Zach Ingrasci mentions in the TED Talk. Both he and Chris Temple were Business students and their motivation for going to Guatemala was to try to find a solution to poverty by first understanding how the poor really live. So, they knew the theory, they wanted to live the practice. But, among many other surprises, they found that the poor themselves became actually their best teachers. They showed them what needs to be done in order to survive and how they used ingenuity, wisdom, and tools like cooperation to achieve it. I hope you have a chance to watch their talk (aptly subtitled "The Financial Secrets of the Poor.") explaining it much better then me.

I don't think we need to travel anywhere to find teachers and lessons to be learned around us. But we do need to have our hearts open to them. We often dismiss the known or obvious or, sometimes, do not consider that others can show us anything new, but we need to listen with love, wonder and patience until the lessons are revealed.
In the same manner, I do believe that we all are teachers and we have to remember that our message or our actions will touch people in ways that are not known to us. We just need to keep saying it.