The Ghost of Education

In My New Book The Ethical Coach Leader, I Note That Early In My Career I Was Suffering From A Problem Of Misunderstanding.

I really thought that teaching was simply a matter of imparting information to someone else. As I say in my book, I had never learned the lesson of caring for those who were in trouble or for being aware of signs of trouble in my friends. I wish that I had known then the useful wisdom imparted by Aristotle when he said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”

Since then, I have learned much more about the way our hearts and minds work. I have learned that we do not learn just in an academic sense but also through our feelings and our emotions. Our hearts will learn to deal with situations if we just take the time to listen and put ourselves in the situations of others.

When you want to learn something, it is very important that you go through a process known as internalization. This word means that you take something and put it inside your mind and your heart so deeply that it becomes a part of you. This means more than just memorization, however. It also means making cross-references to other things you know or experiences you have had so that your mind can call up this information when necessary.

Our minds are not exactly like filing cabinets, although we tend to think of them that way. Instead, they are more like an intricate web of cables crisscrossing each other over and over again like a spider’s web. Also like a spider’s web, when a memory triggers one section of our brain, the corresponding waves moves through the web to generate connections to many other memories. This is why we move from eating donuts to remember our Grandmother’s kitchen and the smell of baking to thinking of our Uncle Jack and his juggling act!

Similarly, our emotions are also tied up in our learning experiences. We will remember for many years a teacher who touched our lives because every time we recall something we learned, those emotional colors will appear again in our memory. It is important as teachers and coaches to remember that we must ingrain in our students a deep love for learning, and this is best achieved by touching all aspects of our students’ lives: mental, emotional and spiritual.

The Ghost of Experience

Have You Ever Had A Situation In Which You Are Dealing With Someone Who Simply Does Not Want Your Help?

That can be an incredibly frustrating situation. It is especially difficult when you can see so clearly what someone is doing wrong but that person refuses to see it for himself or herself.

In my new book, The Ethical Coach Leader, I recall the time I was faced with this type of situation with a young man on my team. He was struggling with an addiction to alcohol, and I wanted to help. I tried in several ways, including enrolling him in an alcohol treatment program at a hospital. At every turn, he resisted my help. He left the team and the school, and I have not heard anything else about him since. Unless he made a decision to change his life, I can only imagine what happened to him.

The problem was not that I was unwilling to help or even that the young man was beyond help. The problem was that he did not want help—mine or anyone else’s. Aldous Huxley once said, “Experience teaches only the teachable,” and I would add that experience is gained through living. If you are afraid to live your life, you will not have the experiences that can teach you so much about how to live more productively.

I think that sometimes people are afraid of experience, but I can tell you that it is what shapes us into the people we become. I believe that when we avoid experience because we are afraid, we are cheating ourselves of the benefits that come with life’s richest moments. No matter what type of experience you are facing, stop looking at it as an obstacle and instead look at it as an opportunity to learn something that will ultimately make you a better person.

Unlike the young man in my story, you can choose to go through experiences that may be hard. However, these hard experiences can teach you so much and help you live more abundantly in every area of your life! Stop fleeing the Ghost of Experience and instead embrace the opportunities you are given.