Small Disciplines – If I Can’t Explain them to A Child, Do I Really Understand Them?

In an amusing twist of fate, I’ve been a teacher for most of my adult life; a pathologically shy, misanthropic misfit is not exactly a natural fit for teaching.

As I ease into my post engineering retirement career, teaching will certainly be part of it. I’ve done it for so long, it now comes naturally, which has only been reinforced by parenting.

Richard Feynman once said something to the effect that, if you can’t clearly explain something to a child, you don’t really understand it. I have three children, making my life a constant teaching (and therefore learning) opportunity.

Lately I’ve been expounding on the concept of transformation through small disciplines and last week my oldest and I were talking about his summer vacation plans.

His major goals are to get a part time job, and learn python programming.

Planning for these goals presented an opportunity to explain small disciplines.  I’ve thought deeply, and written enough, that I have a good grasp of it. Explaining it to a teenager gave me a chance to workshop how to teach to a broad audience.

The hard part will certainly be keeping a teenager, hooked on video games, on track, but I’ve already seen signs he’s applying it to other aspects of his life.

If small disciplines can work for a 15 year old, they can certainly work for you.