To Learn and to Teach
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by Mark Sooy

Each one of us has many roles in life. Have you considered how many roles you fill each and every day? Spouse, parent, friend, boss, employee, leader, follower, caretaker, steward, owner, buyer, seller…the list could go on and on. We move from one to the other seamlessly, and often function in more than one capacity simultaneously.

At an event, we focus our attention on specific roles. We may be attending as a trainer, or one needing to be trained. We might come with many answers, while others come with many questions. Some are coming as vendors, others as purchasers. It’s not that we avoid the other roles, such as parent or spouse, but that we focus in a way that helps us to learn and grow in a specific role.

The Apostle Paul shared some wisdom about learning and teaching that could be an excellent guide:

The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:2 NASB)

In this short verse Paul identifies three levels of learning and teaching in relationship to his co-worker Timothy. In other words, Timothy fills several roles in spreading the message received from Paul. The first level is that Timothy sits under Paul as a learner. The second level is Timothy taking what he learned and teaching others (teacher of learners). The third level is that those taught by Timothy should also teach others (teacher of teachers). The unwritten implication is that this process should continue beyond these three levels.

I would like to suggest that we each view our time at any event in the same way. In fact, we can be prepared to function in each of these roles, depending on the situation and conversation. Of course, we all go as learners – and there will be plenty to gain. Although a number go as teachers for various sessions, it’s also true that each of us may have opportunity to pass on our own knowledge to help others. And as we do share our knowledge, there may also be ways to encourage others to take information with them for the benefit of those at their home office (teacher of teachers).

Just like Timothy, this method will ensure the greatest impact for all in attendance. We each have much to learn and much to teach. If we also remember to balance these with an attitude of humility, our companionship will result in a greater impact for Christ in higher education.

Heavenly Father,

Open my eyes to all that I can learn and open my ears for opportunities to share what I know. Allow me to both be a blessing and to be blessed. Amen.