Each one teach one is a saying which originated in the United States during slavery. A time when Africans were denied education, including learning to read. And, like the one intentional good deed I try to do each day in honour of my late husband Bronnie, ‘Each one teach one,’ is also a tenet I attempt to live by.
In recent years, this intent has ranged from working with young people in schools, to coaching with peers, to just listening to another human being.
And usually what we have to teach is experience to pass on – heartache and joys hard won. Those moments in our lives that have been polarising or shed some sort of scale from our eyes.
It is also the reason we often want to shove all those years of hard earned experience down our own children’s throats when we see them going down ‘a path.’ The irony, of course, is they will learn from making their own mistakes and not by book studying ours. #Life.
This is my rumination this Sunday because I lost my purse, cash money, credit cards, my iPhone and business cards yesterday whilst out shopping.
What sort of shit luck do you have to have to lose all those things all on the same day? You don’t. You just need mush for brains. The kind of brain which says find a bright orange purse-like thing which is capable of holding cash money, credit cards, iPhone and business cards – then leave the thing behind at a cash till and walk out of the shop without it.
The vulnerability of the situation came over me in waves. Not just my personal details, but that of my contacts, and correspondence with various being out there in the wild. Not so much the hate emails to BT, but other more personal missives and business dealings – and no way to get money out to cab home quickly to deal with the fall-out. That was a long walk home.
And here’s the thing – my children have told me for an obscenely long time now that my carry-around get-up was risky. Okay, they said foolish.
And I did stop this arrangement for a while (before I went back to it) but did always mean to stop and re-arrange my intentions… tomorrow.
Well tomorrow came yesterday.
My ah-ha moment from this experience is that wisdom is not a privilege put on lock-down by the elders. That it’s not always the older of us reaching back to help and teach one who is younger… sometimes it’s the young pulling us from the front trying to shove some of their modern-day wisdoms down our throats. Yes, like don’t carry your mobile phone, cash money and credit cards all in one basket.
Luckily my story ended happily, but each one teach one, indeed – no matter what age the teacher.