I recently spent an afternoon tutoring a university student.
Normally, Brian is very goal-oriented and enthusiastically engaged in our conversations. We were brainstorming ideas for his Business assignment but he wasn’t focusing. He quickly typed something on his laptop and quietly handed it over to me:
“This young guy beside me is amazing! He’s looking through newspapers for pictures and then sketching them. I wish I could do that.”
Of course, at this point, all concentration was broken and I just had to see what he was so mesmerized with. I nonchalantly stood up and peaked over the man’s shoulder.
Brian was right. This guy was an amazing artist.
Right at that moment, the artist got up from his table and went to order coffee. I grabbed my camera and quickly took a picture of his drawing.
When the man returned to his seat, I turned to him and said, “My friend and I couldn’t help but notice your work. You’re a wonderful artist.”
He looked at me, humbly thanked me for the compliment and quietly remarked, “This is all I’ve wanted to do since I was a little boy. I want to draw until the day I die.”
Brian turned to me, shook his head and said, “Wow….I’ve never felt like that about anything.”
Sometimes, tutoring is most effective and powerful when embodied in silence.