I had the really good fortune to be sitting with my new friend Asha today. She’s in the 7th grade and we were working together on a persuasive essay she had to write. The topic was totally bizarre to me but made sense to her thank God.
In these situations, I guess, there is often a moment where the idea of being a “teacher” pervades my being and I feel as if I either need to talk more or louder or with a great deal of bombastic complexity in order to get my point across. It’s as if I feel that the skin I am in will betray me and my mouth and my brain have to work really hard to keep my secret at bay.
Today though I’m with a 7th grader who is a lot cooler than me and has just made sense of a topic that asks her to persuasively explain in writing why being a guest star on “The Wizards of Waverly Place” is a higher quality choice than sailing around the world. I know, I know!
Asha knows why, and as she calmly outlines her reasoning to me, I realize, as I sometimes do when I’m in any teaching situation, that our roles have been reversed, and I am really the student here! And my God, this is such a graced opportunity. And I’m reminded of that moment in the studio when I assisted Franca, grunting and groaning through the inhalations and exhalations, into seated forward bend, and she sprang up after the third breath and gently relayed her recipe for the perfect homemade pasta.
There is just so much I don’t know!
Forget about the moments of utter ridiculousness when I really believed that the knowledge that I extracted from my head and allowed to pour forth from my mouth were actually Socratic, overflowing with wisdom and unlimited knowledge. The grace with which these two people calmy held their space and shared themselves with me revealed the true nature of studentship and gracious persuasive love.
Needless to say, Asha finished her essay and Franca’s pasta was perfect and I just got to hang with them and bear witness to it. Nothing to impart, just a gentle heart, open and willing to be persuaded in the moment.
So many Big things left to learn.
Much gratitude to Asha and Franca.