GlobeI was in Perth recently speaking at a church there and I had a great question from a young leader at the break between two of my sessions with the church staff team: "Can you teach someone to be teachable?" I had to stop and think about that one. What an insightful question. If someone is not teachable, can you teach them? Probably not … but I started to think about ways that you can help people recognise their need to learn from others.

During our conversation, I shared the following example which I heard many years ago … 

Imagine a group of people sitting in a circle around a table with a world globe in the middle. A few observations …

  1. Firstly, everyone sees the world differently, depending on where they are sitting. No one sees it exactly the same.
  2. Secondly, no one sees the world accurately. There are parts of the globe that each person does not see. No one person has the full perspective, no matter who they are. If any individual thinks that they have the complete perspective all by themselves, then they are nothing short of ignorant … and proud.
  3. Thirdly, the only way to get an accurate picture of the world is to combine everyone's perspective. We must listen to those who see differently from us to learn about what we cannot see.

Take the world globe off the table and replace it with anything else – an issue, a decision needing to be made, a conflict … whatever. The lessons are still the same. We need other people's perspective to add to our own in order to gain wisdom for life.

An illustration such as this could be the first step in helping someone become more teachable … by showing them the reality of their need for the input and perspective other people.

How's your teachability?