There is a pithy old aphorism that states one teaches best that which one most needs to know… doing all these workshops and talking to kids all around the country, I am certainly learning a lot.
It’s true; I am learning more about the material I am teaching, every time I am doing it. But more than that, I am learning a lot about people, about myself, about how we respond to situations, about how open I am to others, to thoughts, to change. It’s sobering, challenging, humbling and exalting all at once.
Last week I stood in front of around 800 school boys at Grey College. Trust me, all I really wanted to do was to encourage them to show the middle finger and to reject most of what they are being taught. But of course, I can’t really do that! I’ll never get a school gig again. Instead I find myself trying to find ways to show that its not what you are being taught at school that is important but that you learn, that you acquire learning skills and the attitude the is open to learning and growing. And while I am talking, the scars from my own high schools years are receding.
I talk to a principal over a cup of coffee like equals. It’s a given. And I realise I have survived my adolescence to be a man. I have been one for some time. But now I realise it. It’s a sweet kind of release. A vague itch that hasn’t been thought about for ages, but which is now gone.
The next day, I talk to 20 odd musicians about the challenges they will face, trying to give them the tools to face these challenges four square on. I see their apprehension and fear, their reluctance to know what I am speaking about. In it I see reflected my own fear about putting so much of myself out into the world in my books, my speaking. In this blog post. And I realise that I need to embrace what I preach, and be the words and make the actions. Mostly I am. But I recognise the fear hidden in their eyes as my own, and it stops me too sometimes.
I continue to plan and plot visits around the country, seeking to reach as many places I can, go to towns I have not been before. It’s pretty rough, working most weekends, being away from home, having limited downtime. But I feel that in a way, this is my time, I need to strike while the iron is hot and so far, the benefits are far outweighing the negatives.
So, keep an eye out, I may be in your town soon. Or if you want me to come and visit, drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk. I am keen to find out what I have to learn from you too!