Justin Bangert, MS, LMFT
Are You Teachable?
Updated: Mar 30, 2019
They say as parents that we are to look for “the teachable moments” when we try to guide our children through life. And isn’t it easy to find all sorts of ways that others could change or do things different to make their life better? Yet, as the autonomous adults that we are, how open are we to allowing life’s circumstances to be our greatest teacher? Do you commit to truly learning from your choices and circumstances, or do you find that you simply ignore the opportunities to evaluate the contributing factors of the outcome you just experienced?
From a personal perspective, I find it quite humbling and eye-opening when I risk inviting others to give me feedback on the way they experience me or on the insights they have into any certain predicaments I might find myself in. For instance, recently I was teaching my child about table manners and ways to conduct herself while eating. When I was finished, I invited her to inform me if she saw me doing any of the things I was trying to train her out of……and to my surprise, it took me about five tries during dinner that night to re-correct myself from a habit that I have before I was able to apply the very same rule I was asking her to abide by!
From a Christian therapist’s point of view, it is quite evident that the circumstances in life, especially the challenges, offer us an opportunity to grow in character. Scripture tells us that God is committed to “training us in righteousness” (see 2 Timothy 3:15-17) and that He allows us to endure the trials of this world, not to harm us rather to help us grow through it and learn to further embody His character (see Hebrews 12:7-11). Truthfully, there is a quiet solace in knowing that no matter what is occurring in your life, you always have a choice to learn from it, or to risk repeating it. One way of applying this truth is instead of staying stuck in fear, frustration or regret, commit to move towards an attitude of “what can I learn from this?” and “what might God be trying to teach me as a result of this experience?”
So how about you? Would you say that you are teachable and open to learning through the interactions in your life? How have you learned to respond when God offers you a “teachable moment” in your life and your relationships?