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Stay Young By Teaching Skills to Others

The following is a Guest Blog by AARP Volunteer and Darien resident, Peter F. Eder.  The article also appeared in the At Home in Darien newsletter, Out and About.

There are two dimensions to Education: learning and teaching. The current focus seems to be on having seniors learn, and not necessarily on the value seniors can offer as teachers. I'd like to offer some suggestions on how we can provide valuable teaching to those around us... some thoughts on sharing our heritage and the values that have underlain them.

Handicrafts: If you have skills in sewing, knitting, crocheting, or embroidery, teaching other will not only pass on the creation of the future heirlooms, practical garb or decorations, but also the precision, patience and perseverance it takes to produce them. The same holds true for those skilled in woodworking or whittling. Cooking can also be included- family recipes are a combination of preciseness, history and tradition.

The Arts: Playing harmonicas and tin whistles - and even whistling - are probably far from what most folks hear these days. Teaching others these simple pleasures can expand imaginations and enrich the senses. The same is true for those skilled with a paint brush, charcoal or a set of colored pencils. Even those of us who might have spent too much time doodling can introduce and intrigue others to the creativity an delight in an art form lost most computer users.

Games: If you enjoy games, solitary or with others, you can teach others the fun and challenges of them, while introducing forgotten forms of fun. They are great for face-to-face interaction, brain stimulation and ideation and sometimes, even simple physical activities. I have taught others my Manhattan street games, using simple and inexpensive supplies- chalk, Popsicle sticks, bottle caps and rubber ball.

Literacy and Story-Telling: Reading to youngsters and adults of every age, and listening to their reading can open new windows of creativity and the love of words. Your own reflections and recollections can help others remember their own adventures and inspire new explorations. Journaling and encouraging others to capture their own thoughts and experiences can enrich lives and perhaps even improve keyboarding or cursive writing skills.

All of us have knowledge and skills to share that can enrich the lives of those around us, and our own.  So, never stop learning...but consider being the teacher as well!

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