I still remember the evening, many months ago, when my friend and I worked side-by-side in my kitchen to prepare a large meal for guests. While we were still prepping, she grabbed one of the dirty pans and started to wash it in our sink.
"You taught me this, you know," she said, looking over her shoulder. "You once said that you always clean as you go while cooking so there's not too much clean-up at the end. I've always remembered that."
I don't know why I recently recalled this exchange, but I did and I'm glad. There's something gratifying about teaching someone something that they find useful, and there's something encouraging about hearing this spoken aloud.
That thing you do? Well, I've learned from it.
When I bake pies, I always roll the crusts thin enough to cut the excess from around the edges and bake a cinnamon and sugar pie crust cookie. My mom taught me that. When I paint a room, I always edge with a one-and-a-half inch angled brush. My dad taught me that. When I stack dishes in the dishwasher, I always jam it too full. My husband has tried to teach me about that. Repeatedly. (It's a work in progress.)
Every day, both in my personal life and in my profession, I'm teaching something, whether it's instruction for my students on how to analyze rhetoric, or instruction for my daughters on how to handle a conflict, fold laundry, or shut the screen door when they go outside rather than leaving it open and creating a direct thoroughfare for flies to enter the house.
(Because, obviously, flies only have enough brain capacity to fly into a house on their own volition, never back out. Out requires great amounts of swooshing and close calls when that pesky bug is just an inch away from freedom, but for some unannounced reason, darts back into the screen and remain trapped.)
Today, I'm going to think about lessons that I've learned. I want to be like my friend who gave voice to her thoughts; I want to share with others how they've impacted my actions and my life.
That thing you do? You taught me that, you know. Thank you.
Image compliments of Chapendra (flickr.com)