Teach a man to fish…

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

We’ve all heard that one before, but I have some questions: who is teaching the man? And how? (And, just to be clear, it’s not just men who need to eat and are capable of fishing, right?)

I spent the MLK Day of Service last weekend helping pack 500 bagged lunches for hungry people in Philadelphia. In the metaphor of the proverb, that was a whole lot of fish. (To give credit to the facilitators of the day’s activities, there was as much time spent building bridges between communities and examining privilege and difference as anything else. The sandwiches were a catalyst and a useful byproduct.) But as I thought ahead to the more worthwhile goal of teaching 500 people to fish, I saw that that too comes up short, even metaphorically:  Continue reading