Our First Teachers

“A mother is her children’s first teacher. Her relationship with her children begins when they are in the womb.” This quote, from Iyanla Vanzant, resonated with me so deeply when I discovered it. She also notes that she feels a “…responsibility…not just for her own children, but those with whom she comes in contact.” Again, I saw myself in her words and appreciated the definition, as I have since thought of myself in that way: a first teacher. I see myself teaching all of the time and see the great
significance and responsibility of the role.

As Mother’s Day approaches, naturally I reflect on this role that I have actively and intentionally played in my own children’s lives. When I think of it more broadly, I acknowledge teachers that we have in the workplace as well.

These teachers take so many forms. Sometimes it’s a colleague assigned to bring you along the learning curve. Other times, it’s a manager who is working to get you to a new place of competence. Often, our teachers show up as mentors, those leaders who teach and fill in the gaps in all the places we need it. Many mentors, like colleagues and managers, are our first teachers. While they may teach you a particular skill set, it’s often the small things that occur in these relationships that make a big difference. Maybe it’s a boost of confidence when you need it most. Maybe a heart-to-heart conversation that re-centers and grounds you in your career. It’s the same kind of small things your mother taught you, like making it a point to find the host to say “thank you” before leaving the party. Mentors have made such a big difference in my life.

As we anticipate Mother’s Day this Sunday, I’d like to remind you to say “thank you” to your first teachers. While we acknowledge and give thanks for our mothers (or anyone that filled that special role in our lives), let’s also make it a point to acknowledge all of the people who have added value to our career journey. Perhaps they know how much they helped you, but it’s nice for them to know that you know how much they helped you. That makes helping even sweeter.

Dr. Lisa

Our theme song is “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars.


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