Teachable Moments

One of my managers came into my office this morning. We meet each week to catch up, review pending projects and make sure we are on the same page.

Today’s meeting began differently than all our other meetings. He started the conversation by saying, “I went to a funeral last night.”

Turns out, a friend of his had passed away suddenly at the age of 49.

Why did my manager decide to tell me about this? For two reasons, I think. First, it is always hard when someone your own age dies – especially as you gather at a wake or funeral to reminisce about their life and their contributions.

The second reason was that it was suspected that his friend might have had a problem with alcohol.

I think we all have friends like this. They are great people. Smart. Inspiring. Until they start to drink. They drink and drink and drink. Their behavior gets out of hand. They get embarrassing or boisterous.

We looked at each other, after he told me about his evening, and all I could say was, “Is there a teachable moment here that we can pass on to our kids and friends?”

How many times have we been afraid to take advantage of these teachable moments? Do we talk with our kids (with sensitivity and respect) about the very real dangers of alcohol and drugs? Do we hesitate to confront a friend who has a drinking problem?

Coincidentally, late last night, my good friend emailed me about her own personal dilemma. She had become estranged from her best friend due to her friends’ husbands’ alcoholism. It broke her heart. She wanted advice on reconnecting with her friend. Should she?

For both of these dear people – it should be a teachable moment. Teaching sensitivity, gentle confrontation, forgiveness and a strong belief system.

Try to notice all the teachable moments that appear in your life. You always have the choice. You can ignore it and leave it alone…or you can embrace the teachable moment.

You choose.