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Light Their Fire

Posted on 4/17/2023 by Janet Hagerman
image of fire with a Yeats quoteI love this quote. How often do we think we are educating, but instead we are just regurgitating information, perhaps on deaf ears, wondering if it will ever “sink in”? When you think about it, we are all educators. In addition to the professional teachers and professors of the world we all educate in some way as -a parent, a business, a health care professional (think patient education), a student (learning to educate), a spouse, any type of team member – to name just a few.

We know we’re up against a brick wall when we find ourselves saying things like:
•  Why doesn’t he listen to me?
•  I’ve told her that a thousand times!
•  Why don’t they remember what I tell them?
•  It feels like we’re pontificating this all important information yet we suspect that all they hear is blah, blah, blah.

The problem with filling a bucket is that it is self limiting. The bucket may have a hole in it so all the content leaks out while we continue pouring. The bucket may be the wrong size or type so pouring big beautiful rocks doesn’t fit a small sand pail. Once the bucket is full it can hold no more contents no matter how precious we think our subject matter is.

How much more powerful to light a fire of curiosity and interest? How to do that? Here are 8 ways to light their fire.
•  Be passionate about the information you share. Similar to selling, people can clearly tell whether you really care about what you’re doing. Enthusiasm is contagious!
•  Ask great open ended questions to discern values of those you seek to teach.
•  Listen carefully
•  Paraphrase answers to ensure understanding
•  Chunk down contents to bite size pieces
•  Listen for feedback
•  Avoid overwhelm. Better to learn one thing well, than to hear many things and implement nothing.
•  Find fun ways to learn.

Remember how much fun it was to learn as a kid? Well, research shows that even as adults we retain information much more effectively when we enjoy the process. So go ahead and put your finger on the fun button of education.

Lighting fires acknowledges the seeds of potential within us all that release to our full blooming when appropriately motivated. Once that spark of inquisitive interest flickers, it becomes a matter of gently fanning the flames of curiosity. Whether it is educating a child, a student, a patient or a customer, that curiosity leads to sparking a desire to learn which then leads to real education.

Filling buckets gets tedious.

Lighting fires is exciting and leads to great learning.

Today – light their fire!

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