Lesson 12: "When the student is ready, the teacher appears."
"Everyone needs chiropractic care. Not everyone needs YOUR chiropractic care."
Lesson 11:"We determine good or bad."
The student- teacher relationship is an essential part of our life and evolution.
Teachers help evolve us, guide us.
Teachers challenge us and bring out the best in us.
One good teacher can transform us.
Always the student
I remember always being a student.
Learning from my older siblings, my parents, and grandparents long before I ever attended school. Even when I was getting my doctorate I was still a student.
I guess you are always a student in your life.
There is always something more to learn.
Waiting is my teacher
When I was twelve years old I went with my friends to go steal school supplies at our local Thrifty.
Those of you from LA will remember this store.
It's a convenience/drug store that also sold ice cream.
You could get a triple scoop of ice cream for 25 cents!
Well, at least you could when I was a kid, back in the stone age. ;-)
Why did I go there to steal school supplies?
Were we a very poor family?
I had no reason to steal. It was just a stupid thing kids did I guess.
Anyway, a group of us went and stole some pens, pencils, and notebooks.
What is it about stationary that is so attractive?
We all got caught.
They took us to the back of the store and called the police.
I was terrified and humiliated.
My good friend Jimmy was handcuffed to a chair next to me. I guess I wasn't the one "holding the bag" so I wasn't in handcuffs.
All our parents worked so there was no one at home to answer the call to come and get us. As a result, the police had to take us home. Ugh.
So we got our first ride in a police car. Even though we were frightened by the prospects of what our parents would do and say when we got home, it was thrilling to ride in a police car.
Hey, we were 12 years old.
The first kid to be dropped off was escorted to his house while the rest of us sat in the car. I still remember him stooped over, looking at the ground with the cops hand on his shoulder. They disappeared from view after a couple seconds.
When the cop came back, he said, "Well, we got one crying" and laughed.
My friends and I looked at each other horrified.
It made me wish I had been first so I could have had it over with.
I was next.
My parents were self employed and worked at their shop late into the evening.
I came home to my older brother receiving me from the police.
I was relieved.
I thought maybe my brother would keep it a secret and I would get away with this.
He told me to show him everything I had stolen.
How did he know that I had anything on me?
Even the cops didn't search me.
He told me that if I told him the truth, I wouldn't be in trouble.
He hit me.
I told the truth.
I would sit in my room for a few hours waiting for my parents to come home.
I suffered more in those few hours than anything my parents could have done as punishment.
I relived each moment over and over.
I felt fear, anger, humiliation, anxiety and shame.
In the end my mom "beat" me with a newspaper and my dad threatened military school. But I think they saw that I had punished myself.
I would end up going back to school and being a better kid. Sort of.
That day, Time had been my teacher.
The few hours of waiting for my parents had taught me all the lessons I needed to learn from my criminal excursion.
Your teachers are not what you expect
Just like my experience with Time being my teacher as a kid, my future teachers would not present to me the way I had envisioned.
We are engrained at an early age that teachers will look like the people you learned from as a kid in school.
That the roles would be clearly defined. One person is the student, the other the teacher.
Not so much in real life.
When I started practicing, I was still under this illusion.
I thought that the doctor-patient relationship was just like a classic student-teacher relationship.
The experience was that patients would come to the office and I would "teach" them about what was going on with them and how I could help them get better. Simple right?
In fact, I am pretty sure that most of you continue to believe that this is true.
What I learned is this:
"When the student is ready, the teacher appears."
Now in the patient-doctor relationship, the DOCTOR is the STUDENT.
How does the patient become the teacher?
By showing up.
Doctors go to school for a long time. They are required to continue their education forever via conferences, seminars, case studies, research, etc.
But the real knowledge comes from the best teachers we can have, patients.
It is the patient that helps us evolve, guides us.
The patient that challenges us and brings out the best in us.
A good patient can transform us.
So take a few moments to evaluate who are the people and what are the situations that really challenge you?
The areas of your life that drive you to learn more, to ask better questions, to reconfigure your belief systems because maybe they no longer serve you.
Remember, we often judge things as being "good" or "bad."
What if we just started looking at challenging events and people as teachers?
Teachers who came into our lives because we were ready to be better students.