Matters of Faith: Learn it! Live it! Teach it!

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Deut. 6:4-9 (NLT)

In order to teach, you must learn. In order to learn, you must live. From their earliest memories, every child knows that they learn by experience. As they age, they begin learning by observation and through the dissemination of information. The goal is to become so proficient in our knowledge so that we live it every day of our lives. Our living then becomes a transfer station that transmits that knowledge to others, especially our children. That’s when knowledge becomes so internalized that we become what we know. At that level of knowledge, all learners become teachers.  

That’s simply said, but not easily done. Statistics tells us that we forget more than 80% of what we learn (in school and college). However, we are shaped by those who teach us. When we forget what we’ve learned, thoughts of those who taught us can trigger our memories. When we think of them, we remember what they taught us. Our brains work like computers, equipped with mental hard drive; our challenge is getting what we know out of the hard drive and into our lives. 

The scripture text from Deuteronomy 6 concludes that the Israelite’s greatest teacher is the Lord God Himself. You do know that if God is your teacher, He will bring to remembrance all you need to know? He triggers the memory. The Israelites were instructed to love the Lord with all their hearts, all their soul, and all their strength. God’s love for them teaches them the things that they were to store in their hearts where it would be readily accessible to teach their children. They were to consume His laws and precepts, then follow the process I’ve outlined.

Learn it! Live it! Teach it! 

Since this is Black history month, I was reminded through this text that those of us who know the gory, the glory, and the story of their journey are charged to teach it; to their children and the world. 

Black history goes back to antiquity and begins with the teachings of God the Father. They must teach how their deep and intimate relationship with God sustained them through slavery, bought them out of Jim Crow, and ended segregation. They must teach about their great civilizations, learning institutions, medical breakthroughs and architectural wonders that still exist today. 

They must introduce their children to the mathematical brilliance, musical genius, poetic majesty and engineering marvels that helped to shape this country and the world. It is imperative that they teach about the uncounted hero’s and she-roes that far outnumber the sports and entertainment figures we know today. They must let them know that without the contributions of Black people in every area of life, we would have a world, but it would not be the world they know. 

When we learn it, we exemplify our knowledge by living that which we know. When we live what we know, we teach what we know to others, and thus complete the cycle…, Learn it! Live it! Teach it! 

Be Blessed!