Teachers arise from somewhere within me that is beyond me, the way the dark soil that is not the root holds the root and feeds the flower.

Mark Nepo


Our teachers are all around us. They are more than the people who taught us how to read and write and not be jerks. They are more than the mentors who give us opportunities to learn and grow and achieve. They are more than role models who lead by example even/especially when we are not watching. They are more than coaches that push us to reach new physical and mental heights. They are all of those things and more. They are the books on my bookshelf. They are the first snow of the year. They are the podcasts I listen to. They are the dolphins by Brickell Key. They are the words “yes” and “no.” They are 3 o’clock in the morning thoughts. They are prayers – answered and unanswered. They are yearnings that take hold hold of my heart. Many times, our actual teachers plant the seeds for our metaphorical teachers.

What We Learn From Our Teachers

Pay Attention

Paying attention is not easy. Often the only things that get our attention are immediate and center stage, and when we do pay attention, it is often only for a brief second. We are asleep at the wheel. We can’t see the hand in front of our face. We jump at the first bait. Our teachers show us how to slow down, soak it in, observe, and see. We are reminded of the importance of presence from our teachers. We are reminded of the power of wide-awakeness from our teachers. We are told not to hurry from our teachers.

Be Surprised

To be surprised is a gift. Surprises like creating something. Surprises like taking a new path. Surprises like meeting new people. Surprises like travel. Surprises like setting goals and achieving them. We learn about surprises from our teachers. They open the door to amazement and awe. They provide the moment we have our socks knocked off. They set the stage for all things incredible. Teachers make all that possible.

Love Fiercely

To love is a direct charge from our teachers. We hear it loud and clear when we are taught to share, be kind, and tell the truth. We hear it loud and clear when we are asked to seek to understand more than be understood. We hear it loud and clear when we are encouraged to forgive. We hear it loud and clear when we are challenged to be vulnerable. Fierce love requires that we love especially when it is hard.

Say “Yes”

Saying “yes” is complicated. Our teachers remind us to say “yes” after deliberation and consideration. They caution us to beware of an immediate “no.” They believe generosity and abundance and good are the heart of “yes.” They show us that saying “yes” means we builds and create things. We are asked to be builders and creators by our teachers.

Don’t Give Up

Our teachers don’t let us give up. They celebrate with us when we succeed. They pick us up and brush us off and tell us to keep going. They are always right on time. They are interlocutors of perseverance and grit. They ground our audacity without stamping our dreams. They are the voice that says just keep going. They tell us the truth with love.