The Rogue Speaks:
Shortly after I moved to the Southwest, I began teaching painting classes. I had a great group of students who soon became my friends as well. We had so much fun! They were eager to learn, and after several months in a teaching center, they decided they could learn more and have more fun in the comfort of my home. They told me it would be better for everyone because I wouldn't have to pack up my supplies and drive to the center. Plus, they said, we could have Margaritas in the afternoon after class was over. Well, that certainly piqued my interest!
It was great fun for a lot of years. Then sad things began to happen. One student's wife developed dementia and they moved back east so he would have family to help him out. Another student had been fighting cancer for years and was finally overcome by it. Still another student, whose husband had been seriously ill for many years decided that she could no longer make the trip with him to the southwest for the winter. This sort of thing makes you very sad and takes away your creativity, so for a while I stopped teaching.
While I was teaching my fun students, I was also teaching at a retirement center. I did that for several years, but then my students began dying on me. This happens when people get very old--one day they die. It was getting to be a habit, and one that I simply could not deal with, so I resigned my position.
I felt very creative for all those years that I was teaching, and I have come to realize that teaching other people the skills you have learned makes you a better artist. It makes you think beyond what you learned years ago and makes you want to experiment and improve. This is what my students have given me--more knowledge, and more creativity, and a desire to be a better painter.
For several years I didn't teach. I was involved with the arts, but not in a creative way. Then, this year, I began teaching again, and some of my old students wanted to come and play once a week with me. It is great fun, and has made me start thinking again about how I paint and how I can do it better.
If you want to do something better, teach what you do know to someone else. It will make you think about what you don't know, and make you want to learn. Share you knowledge with others and you will get a delightful return on your investment. Plus, if you are really lucky, you can drink Margaritas in the afternoon with people you really like.