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Teach one, change one

To teach is to touch lives.

To teach is to change lives. One word from someone in power can shape a future, change a destiny and forever impact a life.

I wonder if you thought about this when you chose to teach?


Your words have such power and every day you are changing lives. The only question is whether you are aware of this precious opportunity you hold in your hands, or should I say, in your mouth?

What forms a child and shapes the adult they become? Research tells us that in the western world, children’s brains will be bombarded with at least 50,000 negatives before they go to school, which mainly come from their homes/environment e.g. family, TV, radio, media, and the average learner will experience between 300 – 400 negative experiences in a 6 – 8 hour day once they get to school. This is a serious amount of negative reinforcement and it has consequences.

Children love and hate subjects based on who teaches those subjects. They excel and believe in themselves, their ability and their worth at school because of the words of their teachers.

If you teach, you hold the power to touch and change lives. Parents, leaders, trainers, mentors, lecturers and school teachers, all teach. Our world is full of teachers and each one of them is impacting lives. You are impacting lives.

The power of a teacher’s words

You recall the teachers who encouraged you, who made you feel that you were capable. You always did better in subjects where you felt supported and encouraged. The way children think about themselves is at the very core of their greatest fears and liberating them from these fears is the power the teacher has. You either liberate or you imprison, encourage or discourage. The minute you speak you are touching lives. What a gift and what a responsibility.

You can see children either as problems to be solved or you can see children as opportunities to evolve. The words you use will do one or the other – they will never be without impact. More than anything, those you teach want to know that you believe in them, irrespective of their IQ or their family’s financial standing. They want to know they are accepted unconditionally for the unique gift they bring, and that you will take the time required to help them in finding their gift because you believe they have one. Often you will be the only one that has this opportunity. 

Those children and people you teach every day, those same ones with the smiles, uncertain frowns and lonely eyes, want to know that belonging does not require them to change who they are and that you encourage them to be who they are; that you support them in discovering who they are and that fitting in is not the only rule to live by.

Will you be the one to help them change the story they have about themselves? The story telling them that they are stupid or useless or meaningless. Are you willing to take their hand and explore what they are capable of? Will you be the one to tell them how amazing and worthy they are? Or will you be just another person who shoves them aside because giving a damn is just too much effort?

Are you encouraging questions or insisting on answers?

Will the people you teach be the best in the world, or will they be the best for the world?

How will they remember you?

Teaching always allows you the privilege of leaving a legacy. What legacy are you leaving behind? How will they speak of you?

A true story

There is a true story about a girl who was diagnosed with depression, bi-polar and multiple personality disorder. She spent more time institutionalised than she did in mainstream living. All her therapists and teachers kept asking what was wrong with her and they all spent much time explaining what they believed was wrong with her. All this simply kept her on drugs and in institutions, where she would be “safe”, according to those in the know.

She writes about the day, the day she will never forget, when a new therapist asked her a very simple question. It was, however, a question that changed her life. The new therapist did not ask, “what is wrong with you” but asked, ” what happened to you?” A seemingly small change that changed her life.

Who will change the trajectory of our future? If not our teachers, then who?

in truth

The power you have to change lives is in your hands.

If you teach, you touch and change lives.

If you teach, what you say matters.

Remember that the power of life and death is in the tongue. Most people never really think about this, yet it is one of the most important aspects to know about being human. Humans shape futures with the power of their tongues.

If you teach, in one way or another, you need to think about what you say, because a careless word spoken without thought can change a life and a caring word, spoken with thought, can shape a future.

A teacher awakens. A teacher inspires.


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