For some reason I still couldn’t tie my shoes in second grade. As smart as I was, shoelaces confounded me. Now, not having kids I’m not actually sure the age when kids learn to tie their shoes but since my friend and classmate Luis was the one who finally taught me, I’m guessing it was before 2nd grade.

Though I no longer remember Luis’s last name and we didn’t keep in touch, the memory of him walking me home every day, carrying my books, and teaching me how to tie my shoes returns to the forefront of my mind, even now over 30 years later.

This time the catalyst was a get together I attended over the weekend. A friend had invited a group of friends and family, whom I guess had expressed an interest in learning more about using Linkedin, to watch a presentation. I was intrigued, and honestly a bit hesitant as to how this would play out because I couldn’t imagine my friends and family attending, let alone paying attention and taking it seriously.

To my surprise, there was a nice-size group, they were eager to learn, and there was great discussion. Throughout the next day, the African-American proverb, “Each one, each-one-teach-one-74209536teach one”  kept playing in my head like a broken record. The phrase itself originated during slavery when slaves were denied education, if one learned to read, it was his/her responsibility to teach another.

As my mind wandered around all of those thoughts, and as I’m apt to turn molehills into mountains, I thought again of Luis and how he taught me to tie my shoes, sharing his knowledge at no cost to me; simply because I didn’t know and he thought I should. And felt again the power of ‘each one, teach one,’ words that are still important today as education becomes even more important to our individual and collective success, while the cost of higher education continues to rise, the disparity between rich and poor expands, and public schools in poor neighborhoods are closed because they’re said to be underperforming.

So why not go back to the basics. Our own childhood roots of sharing information simply because we had it to share without expecting much, if anything, in return?

Idealistic? Perhaps, but I think the world needs more idealists, especially those who act. It’s grassroots education, community activism and organizing at its best because knowledge is not only power, but it’s empowering.

To that end, we’ll be collaborating on upcoming info-sharing events and the nerd in me couldn’t be more excited. I have very specific ideas on the legacy I want to leave behind when I pass from this world, and it’s up to me to live my life with that purpose in mind.

You can check out Robert’s Linkedin presentation on his company blog at


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