A few days before the death of Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, the show posted a clip between Trebek and the winner, Burt Thakur. Thakur told the host that he learned English because of him. He used to sit on his grandfather’s lap and watched the show every day.
The story reminds me of the unintended purpose of what we do. In this case, a child learns English from a game show and its host.
Our inspirations and teachers can come from the most unexpected of places. This wisdom calls on us to conduct ourselves with dignity and respect personally and professionally, because you never know who is watching or whose lives we are influencing.
Beyond Our Work
Our work and the way our jobs allow us to interact with the world is never linear. We learned from the interaction between Trebek and Thakur this week, that if you do one thing with professionalism and dedication, your contribution to the world spans wider than the job description. Who knows, maybe Thakur, through his Jeopardy! win and appearance, taught an immigrant, learning the ropes of their newfound society, that America will give you your due place, if you give it a chance and try.
The World Is a Classroom
In the age of COVID, families wonder how children will learn without face-to-face instruction from their teachers. But schools and teachers represent one aspect of learning. With traditional schools on pause, Thakur’s story should encourage parents to find unconventional ways for children to enjoy immersive learning experiences during the pandemic and beyond. Learning doesn’t always require listening to the teacher or hanging out with people our age in a controlled environment. In fact, we teach each other through our actions and character, whether we like it or not.