Teach Me

Have you ever had a moment when you become keenly aware of how much you DON’T know?

I remember in law school one of my classmates said, “even if you do not know something, say it with confidence. If you are wrong, be wrong with confidence and you still win.” Sooo, I strongly disagreed with his statement then and I still do. I say be humble enough to say you are wrong and open to learn so that you don’t continue to be ignorant. Humbly I state that I have been wrong.

This morning, I became acutely aware of how much I do not know nor understand Millennial culture. Unknowingly, I have been placing judgments on things assuming that I knew more than I do.

Because of my campaign and my goal of inspiring people, most especially Millennials, to vote and become more civically engaged, I have taken to social media. For years, I have resisted it because I did not understand it; in fact I criticize it regularly. This morning I watched Fyre Festival and an episode of Grownish. (been up since 6am) It dawned on me that I am seeking to inspire and motivate people whose language I do not speak and whose culture I have not taken the time to understand. It’s as if I am trying to teach Shakespeare, speaking English, to a 1st year English class filled with students whose native language is Japanese. I, first, need to learn their language; and learning language is more than learning words…it’s understanding the words in context…it’s understanding the culture associated with the language.

Too often, I tease my mentees, most of whom are in their 20s, about things I see them do. Realizing now that I am reading them through the wrong lens filter. It is time for the teacher to become the student.

How can I truly inspire & empower someone to something without knowing where they are coming from and valuing what they bring to the table?

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