An old proverb states, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” I spent my entire academic life teaching – teaching students, teachers, interns and residents, and even seasoned clinicians. I also hope that I taught my patients.
I have kept in touch with a number of former residents. It is a joy to hear about their excellent and caring patient care, as well as to provide “curbside consultations” for patients who pose diagnostic or therapeutic problem.
Amongst those residents is a woman who was in the Peace Corps before entering our residency program, and who has worked in a migrant-workers clinic since she moved to Washington State. We share a love of plants, as well as people. For the last two years she has sent me six monthly bulb collections – containing all those flowers we do not grow in Tucson, including hyacinths and tulips. How delightful to watch these bulbs grow and flourish; how wonderful to enter the room of freshly blooming, marvelously fragrant hyacinths. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving.
And now in my work as an editor of a journal published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, I still strive to provide excellent instruction – both to a new, as well as older, generation of pediatric clinicians. That too is a gift – perhaps of a different sort – that keeps on giving.