When we hear the word "student", most of us picture kids in a classroom or lecture hall, teacher or professor front and center, lecturing, explaining or expounding on a subject.
If you ask a teacher what "student" means to them, you may get a variety of answers- stress, pain in the ass, shots of Jack Daniels, gray hair, disrespect, too little pay- Im sure the list would go on and on. (My wife's a teacher. I know what Im talking about. Though in her case, its shots of Jamesons. And no, its not shots every day. There are weekends. Oh. Well, maybe it is every day..)
But if you think about it, all of us are constant students. From the day we are born to the day we die, we are always learning- from the earliest and most basic of tasks like talking or walking to the more complex ones like social cues, mathematics and texting. And it's the way it should be. With age, comes wisdom. Wisdom is born of experience, age and learning- basically, being a student of life, not just knowledge.
One of the more important aspects of life learning is understanding how we fit into society and how our actions, or in-actions, affect others. We do not live in a vacuum. Our lives are intertwined- they overlap and ripple into one another from the smallest inaction to the largest actions. To me, this is one of the most needed lessons that we should all learn. These actions can be as simple as a "hello", or smile; holding the door for someone laden with groceries or children; paying attention to your surroundings as walk down the street, ear buds in place, texting. Or they can be complex, requiring much more effort such as volunteering at a soup kitchen; neighborhood clean up; visiting a retirement home and just listening to the people there who would like nothing more than to pass on what they have learned. Hmmm, sounds like a teacher, right?
All of you who read this, try to remember just a little of what I wrote as you wind your way through the next few days. Do something different in your day to day life- smile more, scowl less, hold a door, plant a flower, bake a cake, whatever. Just be a student. Not because you have to, but because you can.