“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
This past Saturday morning, I took our three-year-old grandson with me to paint a wooden fence at a house my brother-in-law is remodeling. Our grandson was so excited that he ran out the house and jumped into my arms. Seeing how much he enjoyed painting the fence caused the time to go by quickly. The next thing we knew, we had completed painting the section on the right side of the house. Needless to say, he had just as much paint on him as was on the fence, but the look of pride on his face when we finished was priceless.
My brother-in-law and I could have painted the fence much faster ourselves, but we wanted to turn a routine “job” into something much greater: a learning experience—one that our grandson will have with him and apply to the rest of his life. Our objective was threefold:
To make work fun so that he will look forward working instead of dreading it.
To take pride in whatever job he does.
To take the time to teach others by involving them.
We all get so busy that we want to get things done as quickly as possible and don’t take the time to teach others. As a result, more junior workers get left behind, or struggle trying to learn from each other or by themselves. The end result: they develop a negative attitude about work or themselves, and worst yet, they repeat the cycle.
I was fortunate in my career and my life because I had older, wiser people take the time to teach me. To that point, we have got to get back to valuing people who teach at work, school, home and everywhere else. Unfortunately, instead we value people who can get the job done as quickly as possible. This short-term thinking has long-term implications on the current and next generation.
The good news is we all can teach. All it takes is the time and the willingness for the student to get a little messy. The reward is the look of pride on the student’s face when the job is done.
As a side note, while we were painting I asked our grandson, “How much should we pay you?” Without hesitation he said, “Two thousand dollars!” When I told our family about it they all knew who he got that from. He is a very quick learner.