Monday, April 27, 2009

Doing and Teaching. Two very different things.

In a couple of months it is my son's Barmitzva. It's all very exciting for us as the big day approaches.

The other evening I had the privilege and pleasure to show him how to put on a pair of Tefillin. But when I tried to teach him, I got all confused! I simply couldn't remember the precise moves that one uses in order to tie them! I was so unsuccessful in my instructions as to the steps of donning the Tefillin without actually doing it myself that in the ebd, I simply got out my Tefillin and tied them onto my arm, and then my son followed my lead. I have to admit, it was quite bewildering. I have put on Tefillin every day of my life since I was 13. How could I find it hard to explain and instruct another person as to how to tie them? How could it be that I wasn't sure how to wind them when it was somebody elses arm?

But apparently there is a huge difference between doing something yourself, and teaching it to others. I manipulate the straps of my Tefillin so intuitively, that I am not even aware when I pull it back or quite how I wind them! I had to take a step back and actively, consciously think through each micro movement so that I could clearly communicate that knowledge.

I have always found teaching and communication to be a natural skill. I love them, and they come relatively easily to me. I always found it hard to appreciate that some people are really bad at explaining things, and cannot communicate clearly or succinctly.

It is amazing that certain things are so deeply rooted that they defy even our own awareness. We just do them. We are not aware of how we do it. Which things are in that intuitive category? What else is so automatic, so deeply enrooted that I am unaware of even the way I perform that act?

1 comment:

kippah said...

Very interesting article.