I sometimes struggle with how much information to give someone vs. letting them figure it out on their own.  This is both at work and at home with my kids.  I guess it goes back to the whole “If you give a man a fish…” dealie.  Continuing to give out free fish is putting me in a situation of being the fisherman.  Not a bad occupation by any means, but it does get a little smelly and I have my eyes set on dry land.

Fisherman fishing in the ocean
The Fisherman Half Moon Bay, CA Photographed by: http://capturedphotos.tumblr.com/

It is most definitely a practice in patience.  I get torn between wanting to get the task done and wanting to allow the person to learn (and ultimately leave me alone 🙂 ).   I also don’t want the other person to think that I am dragging them along.  If they get frustrated then it is of no use.  They will dismiss everything that they are doing as busy work.  The goal is that at the end they either know how to do it or have enough information to figure out how to do it on their own.  It is a balancing act.

The master Bob Ross at work
“Dark is what makes white, or any light color show. It doesn’t have to be white, it can be any color that’s light. But you need that dark contrast to make it jump out and, and sing for you. Otherwise, it’ll just sort of go away and leave you standing there by yourself.” –Bob Ross, 1994

It is frustrating to me while doing this.  I want to shake the person and say “Why don’t you know how to do this?  Why am I the only one paying attention?”.  I don’t.  Luckily today everything has been through instant message, so it has allowed me to think more about my reaction.  At some point the giving of information and letting people struggle becomes natural and I take over when needed.  Or at least when I feel it is needed.  This is all just an extension of my practice.  Today I learn about patience and acceptance.

Patience is the settled reality that we are not in control
True dat

Of course, now the parallels come into play.  If I am teaching others like this, how am I being taught?  How much information am I being given vs. banging my head on the wall to find out on my own?  And if I have that sort of abandoned feeling, is that just me being left to figure it out myself.  The end result being that it is something that is more rewarding and more meaningful to me and my experience.  Maybe I don’t get the exact correct answer or maybe I go about it a different way than is initially prescribed.  The end result is the same.  Eventually, the lesson is forgotten and we are left with our instincts on how to return.

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