“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”

Chinese Proverb

Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime. That’s a saying you’ve heard before. But what if we push this metaphor one step further? Let’s journey together.

Imagine a river, your knowledge the shimmering, sparkling current. The fish? That’s the wisdom, experience, and understanding you’ve caught over your life’s voyage. Now, picture a fellow traveler, starved for knowledge, yearning for wisdom. What do you do?

You could hand them a fish from your glittering stash—tell them a piece of wisdom. They’d nod, appreciative, but likely forget by the next bend in the river. Or you could show them how to use the fishing rod—demonstrate your knowledge. They might remember, might not. Still, it’s a step in the right direction.

Now, here’s the real magic. What if you taught them how to navigate the river—how to read the water’s rhythms, how to feel the pull of the current? Involve them in your process. Unveil the hard-earned secrets behind your wisdom. In the shared struggle, the mutual pursuit, they’ll grasp, they’ll understand. This, my friend, is the beauty of genuine learning.

Sure, it’s more work. It’s more time. It’s more energy. Yet, in the grand dance of life, there’s no step more rewarding. The sweat on your brow, the strain in your muscles—it’s a testament to your shared journey. In this shared voyage, not only do you light up another’s path, but you also reveal more about your own journey. Your struggles, your victories, they all come to life in a vibrant new light.

To guide another soul, to be part of their journey of understanding, is to embark on a trek of growth yourself. It’s hard work, sure. But the payoff? It’s a legacy. A legacy of wisdom shared, of lives changed, of the world nudged a smidgen closer to understanding.

So let’s roll up our sleeves. Let’s get our hands dirty. Let’s venture forth and do the hard work. Let’s not just tell or show. Let’s involve.

Let’s create a river of wisdom, a current of understanding, a legacy of growth. Because, in the end, the real treasure isn’t in knowing—it’s in teaching others to navigate the river themselves.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.