In this post I’m going to share with you an experience I recently had, which brings home the message that somethings cannot be taught, they must be learned — a popular saying you may have heard. Or another version: some things cannot be taught, they must be experienced.
Over the last several years we have been spending a lot of time teaching, preaching, telling, selling, convincing, persuading, even making it mandatory for different individuals to learn how to work with, live with, interact with others. How we can be better at living with and working with each other.
And last week I had the privilege of attending a three-day long wedding celebration. And this has really driven home the message of the importance of exposure, of experiences, of certain kinds of engagement, in making sure that the messages that we are teaching and preaching are resonating, are connecting with others. And that’s the story I want to share with you today.
This was a Hindu ceremony. It was an interracial marriage with two different religions. The ceremony was Hindu, non-religious, with a Christian blessing for the food, where all different races and religions were holding hands, sharing stories, eating, having drinks. And really celebrating love. Over three days. Day after day people showed up. Happy. Joyfully connecting. And really deepening their relationships, and deepening their connections and bonds. I looked at this from the perspective of someone who teaches on many of these topics.
And I realized that that event in itself was a masterclass in how we should be considering living the level of openness that we need to be having. The way that love cuts across religious boundaries. Racial boundaries. All of the boundaries that we are artificially construct. I saw how love flowed seamlessly. Across those boundaries and how people shared stories, connected with each other and built great relationships.
And so I feel that it so very important for us to revisit the ways that we are teaching. And reconsider how we can integrate greater exposure. Greater opportunities for engagements, whether they are events are other forms of experiences that bring people together from disparate places, where we come together to recognize that we are a lot more similar than we are different. And that we are connected. By the power of love. We are connected by the need to be seen. Supported. To be safe. To be understood. To be a part of something much bigger than ourselves.
And so as we go forward how can we teach these principles? How can we teach people to be more inclusive? To have a better understanding of diversity? How can we teach people to be more respectful of other people’s cultures, religions, races? how can we choose? How can we teach people to be more considerate and empathetic?
Maybe we need to consider putting people together. Intentionally. To have the exposure to each other, to engage in meaningful ways. In the absence of a curriculum. In the absence of the structure. So that we may connect with each other with the things that we have in common. With the humanity that we share.
How can we make more exposure, more experiences part of the learning. Deep learning that allows us to come out of this pandemic better off. Better off because we have each other. Better off because we have the opportunity to connect with each other. Better off because we recognize that our differences are the things that we admire. In each other. And it’s a point of connection in as much as the things that make us so similar to each other connect us.
And so I want to go back. To the phrase. The little statement that we started off with. Some things cannot be taught. They must be learned. Some things I want to say are better learned than taught. Some things we have to come to on our own. Some things when we hear it, we don’t agree with it. We build barriers. We put up walls. We are ready to reject it, to resent it, to fight against it. Ideologically. But sometimes when we connect with each other, in meaningful ways, we learn that we are actually so much more similar than we are different. That exposure, those experiences, will be the point that helps us to be able to move forward.
And that’s perhaps the approach to learning that we need to be considering a little bit more. And that we need to be accessing and practicing a little bit more. So I want you to be thinking about what culture, what group of people do you need to learn more about? What could you do to:
• become more exposed
• to engage more meaningfully
• to find yourself at events and to have experiences with these particular groups of people, with this particular culture, with this particular way of being
We can understand how similar we are to the very people who we do not understand. And I think that when we begin down this pathway, we’re on track to real learning. So back to my point. It’s not just about education. Education plays a really important role, but we need that exposure. We need those experiences. We need the meaningful engagements. We need all of these things because not everything can be learned with an educational, structured, formal curriculum.
Some things we have to be exposed to. Some things we have to experience. Some things will only become clear when we engage in it. Ourselves. When we give ourselves the opportunity to be enlightened, to shift our mindset, to open up our frame of reference, to disrupt bias. To disrupt stereotypes. To disrupt our natural, automatic ways of thinking, of being, of acting, of speaking, of believing. Sometimes, it is only through quality experiences and exposure do we begin to see.
Oh, wow. How beautiful. This is. How beautiful is this mix of so many people? Sitting down. Mostly Christians, listening to a Hindu celebration of love respectfully. Fully engaged. Fully immersed. Fully feeling the love. And appreciating the history. And the way in which the celebration was shared. And again, when we come to dinner at Christian prayer. And all different religious groups are holding hands to bless the meal. No judgment. No conversations. Just respect. Just love. Just connection.
And I wonder the extent to which this is what it will take for us to shift to a higher level of learning.
I feel like this wedding was a masterclass in what it’s going to take for us to shift from stubborn ways of being. From fear of speaking for concern about not being seen, not being safe. To feeling like we are all in this together. And we all belong here, and we all have a space and a place. And we all see that, feel that, support that, and we are connected for that. And with that, I believe that education is very important.
Also. Exposure. Experiences. Quality engagements are going to be the game-changer for what we need to build and to bring forward the best of us as we come out of this pandemic, this long period of physical and social distancing. This period that disrupted even quality relationships inside of families. And certainly had an impact on relationships across cultures. Across religions, across races, across all other things.
And so coming out of this, I think we have to be much more intentional. To connect, to seek out experiences and opportunities to get exposure to each other. Education exposure, experience, quality engagements are all going to be very critical for us to come out of this being each other’s keeper. Connected. Respectful. And loving each other.
That’s it for this post. Thanks for reading. Please continue to read, comment and share so that we can get the word out about how we can all UpSkill one bite at a time. See you next Monday.
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