In past decade and a half of my professional life I’ve been lucky enough to do things I love and share my workplace with people I liked in most cases. Also, there were things I have not always likes about work and there were times when I had to make shift in a career. And I did. And it was always a good decision. Nothing unusual about it, just an ordinary journey through life and pursuit for happiness. Something that most humans do.
Having that feeling of fulfillment when work is done, is something that always keeps my morals high. If results of that work are acknowledged and recognized by people that will benefit somehow from it, the feeling is irreplaceable. If that work has something to do with knowledge transfer where I successfully manage to teach people something new that has a lot of meaning to them, it is pure love of giving.
I am not a teacher by profession. But I teach people. I do web and graphic design, I create front-end design, user interfaces and my job has a lot to do with marketing and brand management. I teach people all this through my work, my spare time, over the beer in local pub (in needed) or when they ask me for advice, and I love it.
However, being a father I never stop being a person that gives knowledge out when I am not at work. Usually to my six years old son.
My son’s toys usually belong to his room but could also be found all around our house. Like most parents, I’d find Lego bricks and parts in most unusual places, saved them many times from being hoovered or lost behind sofa. Well, some of them do get lost so the rescue mission is launched in order to save this little plastic and furry buggers.
Playing with toys in a room or around a house is nothing like taking them out on a sunny day and give them completely new role. Having fun with those little Kinder surprise toys places around garden flowers and plants is so thrilling. Taking them to places where they would usually hang around as if they were living beings and take photos or make videos of them is so exciting. While me and my son are doing this, I learn a lot about my little boy as well as he learns about new stuff. How to set the camera, take a good photo, try and shoot, repeat and later on process the photo on a PC or a tablet and make a print. For me, it is interesting to see how my son learns to use the technology, makes decisions based on the experience of using it. And all this time, his toys and my “toys” are in our hands. It is a magical blend of fun play and work in the same time. And most of all, learning.
Sometimes I give my boy a task to think of what we are going to create next. The freedom of choice and an opportunity to make a decision is something that makes him so happy. Basically, I put him into role to be a project manager responsible for what we are going to do, how we are going to do it and what should be an output. Usually we create new toys out of paper, clay, plants from our garden or literally anything we find around house. Number of times I am the one who needs to follow the “rules” on project tasks. This gives me a chance to observe my son’s ability to make decision, solve problems and answer my questions about the project. And I tend to ask a lot. Sometimes, it is so hard for him to take on all this responsibility. The consequences are giving up and the end of playing. And this is perfectly OK, because at that moment we would usually talk about it and see the reasons where things went wrong. And it is learning, through fun, joy, effort and sometimes tears.
Sharing the knowledge and skills with people you care about is so much rewarding. It does not matter if they are your customers who pay you for that or members of your family or friends.
I have been in many situations where my teaching led me to learn new things about subjects that I have never had a chance to explore before. Teaching is a mutual process and it does not matter what level of knowledge we have and what is our area of expertise as long as we understand the importance of sharing. Children are good teachers as they are constantly reminding us of beauty of exploration and happiness of discoveries. New knowledge is everywhere around us, we just need to learn how to enjoy it.
So, teach whenever you can. You will be surprised what you get in return.