The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

What we are teaching others

It is impossible to always pay attention to what we do and even less possible to always know the impact our actions have.

And yet, every one of our actions is teaching others something.

It can teach them something about us.

It can teach them something about the way we do things together or in our group.

It can teach them ways to do something they have not thought about before.

And it can be all of this at once.

A few days ago a colleague of mine shared his frustration over social media. His son had participated in a dictation test at school and had been downgraded for missing dots on the i. Luckily, in contrast to so many of these moments of frustrations shared on social media, his post allowed for a very interesting conversation.

Taking it from a coach or consultant point of view, the main questions were: “what is his task?”, “who is his client?” and “what can his next action be?”

His first action had been a post and it can be assumed that such a post often is there to try to get rid of one’s frustration. Our conversation transformed this action into opening new perspectives.

The easiest question to deal with was to take the stance that his son was his “client”. As a parent, he felt mostly responsible for his son’s education in this situation.

It opened up the question of how he wants to educate his son and thus how he could help his son get the most out of this situation. The number of options this opens up is so vast, that there is no right or wrong answer. It’s up to him to choose an answer that feels right to him.

However, knowing what feels most important to him will not be sufficient. He still has to think about the method he wants to use to assist his son. Would it be to help his son decide what is right and wrong for himself? And then to take the route to have his son think about how to have his teacher contribute to that learning by asking him about his teaching objectives? Or would he, as the father, to share what he feels to be right? Thus inviting his son to simply take in his father’s values?

Whatever the approach he would choose, one thing remained clear: his son would be observing him and learn first and foremost from his actions.

That’s because our actions are patterns we tend to repeat.

Repetition is a thorough teacher.


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