I shall respect the instructor and the seniors.

The true measure of your education is not what you know, but how you share what you know with others. — Nerburn

Recently, I heard someone discussing that they thought that this tenet should be changed to “I shall be respectful of the seniors and the Instructors.” The change is subtle, but I do not see that such a change would be necessary. Respect does not mean that you have to like someone, nor that you must be friends. Respect can mean to admire or esteem; it also means to avoid violation or interference with (to respect the speed limit, etc.); and polite expressions of deference.

I view this part of the student oath as the place to, whether you like someone as a person or not, respect the work that they have done to get where they have. But respect is a two-way street. Underlying this tenet is the fact that seniors and instructors respect the efforts of their juniors.

I remember the first time I had to teach someone a pattern. “Who? Me? But, I’m only a yellow belt!” But into the corner of the room I went with another student to teach them Chon-ji. “A good teacher clarifies his own ideas and strengthens them by teaching them. Teacher and pupil are alike in the learning process. A good teacher must believe in the ideas he teaches, but he also must meet another condition — he must also believe in the students to whom he offers the ideas,” says Helen Schucman. She’s right. I really thought I knew all that I could about that pattern — until I had to pass it on to someone else. The very act of teaching it to another student made me more aware of the techniques I was doing and raised more questions.

As anywhere else, there are some who are better teachers than others in the dojang. One of the most remarkable things to watch while training is a young child teaching a pattern. It is both humbling and inspiring at the same time.

Instructors hold a position of great consequence. Henry Adams once said that “a teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” How many people remember at least one teacher with fondness for something that they did that extended beyond the classroom or for the way class was run? Good instructors not only give the gift of time and knowledge, but the heart and spirit as well. Were it not for certain teachers, I would not be standing here today. I would be six feet underground. I still have the journal my high school English teacher, Mrs. Schermer, made me start writing when life got out of control — “Three lines of good news, three lines of bad, and fill the rest of the page with the mundane happenings.”

A good teacher is someone who helps you to become who you feel yourself to be.

Random thoughts on respect and teachers.

Teaching is not a lost art, but the respect for it is a lost tradition. –  Jacques Barzun

So love the elders. Honor them. Go to them with a pure heart, unblinded by motions of false reverence or obligation. Listen to them. Observe them like a far-off country that you will someday visit and learn the lessons that they have to teach. If you can honor and respect them and allow them to share the fruits of their experience however simple those fruits might be. You will gain a gift you can get nowhere else.  You will gain the knowledge of your past and the wisdom to understand your future. — Ken Nerburn, Simple Truths

Teaching is but a call to witnesses to attest to what you believe. — Helen Schucman

…Each of us is entitled to his or her own quest, and your answer may not be the same as your neighbor’s but each has credence. That may not be what my Elders hoped I would learn, but that’s what I have taken for myself. — Terry Tempest Williams

A pupil from whom nothing is ever asked which he cannot do, never does all that he can. — John Stuart Mill

If you would be truly educated, you must open yourself to the richness of your everyday experience — to your own emotions, to the movements of the heavens and the languages of birds, to the artistry in the hands of the mechanic and the typist and the child. There is no limit to the learning that appears before us — it is enough to fill each day a thousand times over. – Nerburn

One good teacher In a lifetime may change a delinquent into a solid citizen. — Philip Wylie

Deep antiquity accorded to its teachers — Chiron, Phoenix, Palamedes, Thoth, Dionysus, Prometheus — the status of heroes or gods. Such veneration, strange to us today, shows a profound awareness of the significance of teaching. True teachers whose daily actions may not seem heroic, are nonetheless the source of what makes humanity. They awaken the awareness in us. The true teacher, no matter what his or her specific field, always instructs us in humanity. — Robert Grudin

A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one out of the quality of his actions and the integrity of his intent. — Unknown

I cannot teach you, only help you to explore yourself. Nothing more. — Bruce Lee

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