Why Bother to Keep on Learning?
I have been a teacher in some form or another for a long time. When my sons were young, I taught them the common courtesy of saying “please,” and “thank you,” as well as how to chew with their mouths closed. I modeled how to pick up behind themselves, and to make their beds. Choosing to home-school them through their elementary years, I instructed them in reading, writing and arithmetic as well as how to ride a bike. For a short stint I even took on the role as a soccer coach for one of their teams. Then, in their teen years I taught one of them how to drive a manual transmission and all of them how to cook and do their own laundry.
Then, before becoming a public school teacher, I instructed adults in anger management, women in Bible studies, parents in parenting classes and yogis in yoga. In short, I have a history of teaching, but also, of a lifetime of learning.
The Anatomy of a Learner
Standing in front of a classroom of adults in order to teach anger management skills or sitting beside one of my sons while guiding them through a reading lesson gave me the insight as to whether or not someone was actually learning or simply going through the motions. Comprehending information and making sense of it for ourselves requires a certain amount of humility, vulnerability, trust and an openness to learning.
Whether we are young or old, learning a new skill or learning an old skill at a deeper level, possessing the mindset of a novice along with a willingness to acknowledge a beginner’s mind gives us better success. Though I may already know a few things about the subject I am learning, possessing the attitude of a newcomer empowers me. Beginners let go of arrogant thoughts while at the same time, become more receptive to the ideas presented. First timers allow themselves to view ideas and information as though they are seeing it for the first time. When I acquiesce to the fact that I don’t know everything, then I’m ready to learn something.
Learning also requires the courage to feel some uncertainty and awkwardness. While in the process of learning, we will make mistakes, but hopefully, only minor errors, ones that are short lived and not life threatening.
While bother to keep on learning? Some of us know some things some of the time, but none of us know everything all of the time.