Never do for others what they can do for themselves

I was walking on the sidewalk this morning and I saw an older woman with a cane walking towards me.

In these COVID times, you can’t fit two people on the sidewalk at once, so one of us had to move into the street.

I started to move, but she was faster. So, I kept walking along on the sidewalk, and let her walk in the street.

I felt guilty about this, but then I remembered a rule I heard people who work in nursing homes are supposed to follow: never do for others what they can do for themselves.

Even though it was harder for her than for me, she had no problem moving off the sidewalk and into the street. Why should I deprive her of that opportunity?

That would be abusive.

I’m serious. She would miss out on being able to practice moving quickly and being alert for traffic, just so…what? So that I could feel like I did the right thing? That trade isn’t worth it for me.

This is how I look at teaching. My job isn’t to fix anything for you. It’s only to give you the tools you need to fix it yourself. (Or, to realize that the problem is unfixable, and stop trying to fix it).

A teacher should be trying to create experiences for students where the student can’t help but learn.

No one should have to try to learn.

The experience itself is the teacher.

That’s the attitude I put into the self-paced meditation course No Problem. It will give you experiences, and you will learn, like it or not.


P.S. If she got hit by a car, would I be writing a different email? Not sure. Good thing I don’t need to find out.


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