In Life’s Margins: Teachable Moments

Teachable Moment

They are everywhere—moments that give you an opportunity to help your children learn an important truth. These moments can happen every day in the context of something you want your kids to learn. It’s the conversation starter. Here is an example.


A mom and her two kids find a wallet in the grocery store parking lot. The wallet had money in it but no identification. The mother takes it to the customer service counter and tells the clerk, “in case someone comes looking for their wallet, here it is.” 


Her children witness the event, she could have just left the matter there but chose to talk about it instead. As a family, they discussed the virtue of honesty and why the mother turned in the money instead of keeping it. She wasn’t trying to impress them with her virtue; she impressed them with truths. Be sure of what they are learning by asking them what they are thinking.


It took only a couple of minutes to make the point: someone lost their money. If it were us, we would appreciate someone turning it in, and we will do the same for him or her.


The “unplanned” part is the whole essence of what a teachable moment is all about. It’s spontaneous and addresses the moment and gives a different flavor to the learning.