There’s an old saying that s**t rolls downhill. That’s true – and so does knowledge. The lesson is that we need to be more selective in who we follow up the hill.
One lesson I’ve learned, and one I share with my clients often, is that it is important to have at least two people in your life at all times – someone you’re teaching and someone who is teaching you. In that way, you become a conduit of learning, and a constant student.
For years I looked to my parents and grandparents as they walked up the proverbial hill. The stories I carried with me were about what was missing from those relationships. When I became a parent it occurred to me that it’s difficult to pass along the things I never received.
I found new mentors, teachers, people to follow, so that I could learn and embody their wisdom. Wisdom that passes through me to my children, as well as to those I encounter as I climb the hills and walk through the valleys of this life. I continue to be ever so mindful of who I choose to follow.
Is it more important to be the leader or the led? In my experience it is important to be both.
When you can help a fellow human being up with one hand, while grasping the hand of a trusted mentor with the other, you become much stronger.
Much of my ability to support others through their stumbles and falls of life comes from the paying forward the lessons of all those who have mentored me over the years. It is one powerful gift I hope my children choose to model from me.
My favorite teacher, Mrs. A., is one of those people. I’ve kept in touch with her over the years. When I tell her of my latest accomplishments, I make sure to remind her that I was not simply one of her students; I am also a part of her legacy as an educator.
When other people in my life were encouraging me to play it safe, or believed I wasn’t good enough, Mrs. A. saw something special in me. She encouraged me to use all of myself, everything I had. With her guidance, I discovered that all of me matters.
More and more, I am conscious of whose legacy I pay forward. Do I pay forward the pain of the parent who yelled, or the teacher that applauded?
Choose wisely what you send down the mountain to your students in this life. Make your teachers proud. Teach your students to embrace every part of who they are, so they in turn, will share everything they have to give.
Whose legacy are you living? Who is your student?
What is the lesson?
Thanks for being you.
About Brian R. King
Brian R. King LCSW is a #1 Best Selling Author, 25-year cancer survivor, adult with Dyslexia, ADHD, and Asperger’s. He’s also the father of three sons on the autism spectrum. He is known worldwide for his books and highly engaging presentations that teach the power of connection and collaboration. His strategies empower others to overcome their differences so they can build powerful and lasting partnerships. His motto is: We’re all in this together.