Expressive vs Receptive Skills

I've been involved in lots of habilitation therapy with my kids. Specifically for language, speech and communication. I have two kids whose ears are deaf or hard of hearing.

I remember clearly the big celebration when the therapist said "Your child is at or above age level for both receptive and expressive skills." Yay!

What are receptive and expressive skills? Receptive language is understanding and interpreting language input, both in words and gestures. Expressive language focuses on the language output, how a person expresses themselves grammatically and what they want and need.

When I apply this concept to my life, my receptive skills are huge while my expressive skills are developing. I am a life-long learner and love to take courses, read non-fiction books and keep stimulated with new ideas (high receptive skills). Soaking up a new idea is bliss. It's easy.  Historically, I've tended to put off teaching others what I know (developing expressive skills). My tendency has been to go learn more so I can be "perfect" when I teach, instead of teaching what I know, with all the holes and questions I still have. Learning is less risky; I don't feel vulnerable when I learn. This awareness of a pattern is causing me to exercise my expressive skills, take risks and express what I know.

In "Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah" Richard Bach wrote, "You teach best what you most need to learn." I'm feeling that at a deep level. As I teach the topics I care most about, I continue learning, I ask questions, I stay humble and admit I don't know it all. It feels great to deepen the conversations and to hear others say "I never thought of that!" with a smile.

Which way will I change the world? How can I create kindness and inspire others to lead with kindness? Only by speaking out, using that expressive side. Only by risking "doing it wrong" will I be able to connect with others and invite the change that I wish to see in the world.

That's my plan.

"Be the change that you want to see in the world."  Mahatma Gandhi