Teachable moments in life

Teachable moments in life

Some things in life are few and far between, and when they come along, we would be wise to take advantage. I fear looking around my own environment that way too many young couples – and older ones alike – simply live too fast. There is little time to actually teach, inspire, motivate and help others. Making a good living, participating in school activities for the children, taking an active role in our community, attending church and being a good daughter or son, perhaps caring for elderly relatives, an occasional trip or two, and poof — another year has sped by, leaving us mired in duty and responsibility.

How many teachable moments did we lose? What about the number of instances where we could have imparted wisdom, sage advice or, at least, encouragement? Perhaps our paths crossed with an individual, and we really did not know why, until we realized that the other person was looking for something in the way of help, direction or suggestion.

The Bible has much to say about teaching, and many of the 49 verses I found this morning had to do with training and teaching children. I also read 13 other verses directed at the teacher. Many years ago in the Atlanta area, I studied, created and presented classroom instruction for various ages of students under the watchful eye of my Child Evangelism Fellowship mentor before I could be credentialed as a trainer of other teachers for this wonderful organization. I so wanted to do well, and I studied and I worked hard at gathering illustrations and visual aids to bring those Bible stories to life. I learned through them that one is not teaching unless someone else is learning. I found that true then and now.

However, I have found that you do not have to be in a classroom as the teacher to take advantage of teachable moments, and a greater surprise is that often the student is not a child. I remember a teachable moment from my own life, with a simple lesson learned that I use today.

As a young bride, I wanted to cook well and have people in our home to eat with us. I labored over choosing menu items, cleaning the house, setting a decorative table, and serving good southern home cooking. A precious family in our church and my own family often traveled together and shared meals in each other’s homes. One year, we were in a beautiful condo on a sunny, sandy, white beach in Florida, and it was Ann’s turn to cook breakfast. She fried the bacon and was making gravy when she turned from the range with tears in her eyes, and said, “Oh, no, I have ruined the gravy; it has gotten way too thick. 

“We cannot eat this mess,” she grieved. 

Just as she started to pour it into the disposal, Bill, her husband and the owner of a car dealership, stopped her, and said, “No, don’t throw that away. You go set the table and let me work on this.”

Ann left and began placing dishes and silverware. Bill turned on the tap water and let it run until it was very hot and then put about a cup full into the mottled gravy. He began to whisk it vigorously. Lo and behold, we had perfect gravy again. He lovingly told Ann that you always add water or milk to thin gravy and more flour to thicken it. I was amazed. I did not know this either. I’ve used this trick for over 50 years and everyone thinks I serve delicious gravy. That was a teachable moment.

Think of teachable moments you have shared with others and let’s be alert for the opportunities to do more of this teaching as we go along life’s path.


Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.