Monday, March 17th, 2014
LOVABLE LEARNER MAKES EVERYONE A TEACHER
I have had two visitors here in Mexico during the last two weeks.
(Yes, we are all still speaking.) One was my sister-in-law and one a work colleague and friend.
They shared something in common.
Neither spoke Spanish. And, when they tried, it was often wrong and impossible to understand. But they plunged right in. And asked not to be helped.
Frankly it was hard to watch. And I stepped in too often, not because they needed it but because I couldn’t stand it anymore. BUT. BUT.
The reaction to their earnest bungling was so heartening. Everyone became their teacher and proud to do it.
Taxi drivers were the most demanding. They made my guests repeat and repeat and repeat a phrase until they got it right. No mollycoddling at all.
Stern, I tell you, stern. Waiters were the most patient. They didn’t help or correct but waited for “una cervesa” to come out right.
There was not a single person that my sister-in-law and friend spoke to (take that word lightly) that didn’t summarize the interaction by saying “buena persona”.
The good natured willingness to learn created great good-will all around.
My sister-in-law would shake hands with both hands. My friend would give a touch or a punch and laugh. That was the real communication. But what I saw was the quintessential phrase in action–“When the learner is ready the teacher appears.”
Just think of all the teachers available to us that we don’t bring forth because we need to be more lovable learners.