Probably not a lot of History, or Science, or Math.

But you probably learned a few much bigger lessons that have shaped your whole life.

Author Stephen Dubner, of Freakonomics fame, returned to Appalachian State University to thank his three favorite professors  for these three life-changing lessons he learned in their classes.

  • No matter what you are or who you are, don’t blame your equipment.
  • Be willing to learn from everything and everyone.
  • Know your audience/medium/customers.

What’s especially intriguing is that none of the professors could remember teaching these lessons! Which makes me wonder what lessons I am unconsciously teaching my students.

When I look back to my University and Seminary days, it’s true I can hardly remember anything I was taught in formal lectures. I was definitely taught to think and write a bit better, but I struggle to recall any lecture content.

Like Dubner, though, I did learn life-lessons that continue to influence my own life and ministry:

  • The character of the teacher matters more than the content of his teaching.
  • Striving for simplicity, brevity, and clarity is the hardest work but the greatest service.
  • Passionate teaching makes for passionate hearers.

The podcast touches on this last point when Dubner asks what makes a successful student. One of the professors answers: “You gotta want it. You gotta bring something to the table. If you want it, you’ll get it. You gotta learn to be passionate about something. If you don’t have any passion in life, who cares?” Students take heed!

What three life-lessons did you learn at College?

Listen to The Things They Taught Me (NB: there’s a semi-bleeped word around 10.22-10.24)