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What Are You Teaching?

Oct 9, 2007
Notice, I didn't ask the question: 'Are you a teacher?' Each and every one of us is a teacher. Let me explain.

As a young child growing up, who gave you instruction, taught you to function normally in the world, and created your boundaries? I'll bet your answer is your parents and a host of other people with whom you came in contact. As you entered adulthood, your teachers became more numerous and came from more varied sources.

Even today, you learn from your daily interactions, observations of others, and through other media. As all those people were teachers in your life, so you are a teacher for everyone in your life.

If you are a teacher, then what are you teaching? Think about it. This is a serious question that could change your life.

Another serious question is how do you teach other people? I'll answer the last question first and then address what you are teaching.

You teach those around you to a large extent by all your actions and non-actions. All actions or non-actions have some effect associated with them either positive or negative.

An action can have the effect of generating a negative outcome such as physical or emotional hurt / damage, disease, fear, distrust, scarcity thinking, or damaged security. Other actions can have the effect of creating positive results, uplifting a person's spirits, increasing esteem, serving others in a loving way, and adding value to work, environment, and our world.

Non-actions teach by telling people what is not important. Non-actions can also have positive and negative outcomes. For instance, non-action taken when actions are producing positive results is building a better world.

However, non-action taken when other actions and results are detracting and damaging the world we live yields negative effects. For instance, doing nothing when people are gossiping, need feedback to change damaging behaviors, or avoiding communication when it is needed to bridge damaging differences, perceptions, and agendas all cause damage to our world.

The question then becomes, what are you teaching? Are you teaching undesirable or desirable actions and effects? What follows is a partial list to get you thinking.

Undesirable Actions & Effects
Inflicting willful physical harm
Inflicting willful mental harm
Avoiding responsibility
Avoiding accountability
Blaming others
Serving yourself at the expense of others
Damaging competition
Thinking negative thoughts
Using foul language
Gossiping about people
Maintaining a negative attitude
Choosing to dislike some people
Wallowing in pity
Reacting defensively
Engaging in anger or hate
Resisting needed changes
Denying your need to change
Avoiding learning and growth
Non-action in every situation above

Desirable Actions & Effects
Engaging in healthful physical activities
Showing appreciation, love, respect
Taking responsibility for your work and life
Being accountable for your actions
Doing what you can to get needed results
Serving others to build a better world
Engaging in positive uplifting competition
Holding positive thoughts in mind
Using language filled with enthusiasm
Talking about the best in all people
Maintaining a positive attitude
Liking and respecting all people
Acknowledging your untapped greatness
Framing all situations in a positive light
Responding in a positive way to all events
Willingly embracing change
Acknowledging your need to change
Embracing learning and personal growth
Engaging in action in all situations above

Inventory time! Print this article and place a check mark by each action and effect in which you regularly engage.

Where do most of your check marks fall? What do you want to change?

Take one or two items at a time, set a goal, and take new actions to establish new attitudes and habits in that area. Before you know it, your work and life will change and you will be making greater positive contributions to your world. You will become a better teacher!
About the Author
Joe Farcht is the founder and president of Leadership Advantage, Inc. His purpose for living is to develop and coach leaders, executives, managers, and supervisors to new levels of performance and success in their work and life. He is the author of the book Building Personal Leadership: Inspirational Tools & Techniques for Work & Life. Learn more at Leadership Advantage, Inc.. Please contact Joe at joefarcht@cox.net or at 602 996-1802.
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