I love LEARNING.
Now, I don’t necessarily love school. Even though I finished college, and even did some grad school and have taken a ton of other classes, I’m not a huge school fan.
Well, I like going to classes….and the actual being taught part…..but tests? Not so much. If testing actually reflected what I felt were the major concepts of the course, the important stuff, I wouldn’t have a big problem with it. But so often it was about nit picking, or trying to trip someone up, or about minutia. I find it interesting that those who fail the most students are thought to be the best teachers. It makes me mad at myself that at times in my life I believed that. No….the best teachers teach so their students learn. The students know more when class is done than they knew when it started.
While I have had some great teachers (and some horrid ones) I think many of the greatest teachers of my life have been outside of the classroom. There are those who spoke in a way that made me think a bit deeper – the pastors from the pulpit, the guest on a talk show, the motivational speaker at a conference. There are those who taught me by their talent – the musician playing a piece of music that told me a story and tore at my heart, the artist that painted a picture that made me stare in wonderment, the lyricist who wrote words that touched me or made me smile in their cleverness. There are the ones who taught as we walked through life – the person hiking with me telling me stories about plants and animals we saw along the way, the tour guide who specialized in Mayan medicine who picked up leaves of plants as we walked and made me eat them as he told me what maladies they were used to treat, the eccentric lecturer who taught a session on weeds and made me feel more relaxed with my carefree attitude about weeds and made me think more seriously about my position on the chemicals we use for a weed-free lawn.
Then there are the writers. There are the writers of my youth, like Dr. Seuss, who even now teach me so much about character and morality. There are the fiction writers, who made characters come alive and took me to places and through situations that taught me about living life. There are the magazine writers, and the bloggers, who in quick snippets show me different opinions or different ways to look at the same situation.
Our world is fascinating. I google something at least ten times a day. It’s easy to get information now. That has changed our required knowledge base. You don’t have to know information, you need to know how to access it. A weird twist in learning many of us have seen take place in our lifetime. I’m still not sure how I feel about it. I wonder where it will head next and how it will change our world.
Those who think learning is over for them, either because they know it all or because they feel they are too old to learn something new, are to be pitied I think. I haven’t seen someone actively engaged in learning that has seemed old to me. Instead they are the vital ones. They are the sharp ones. They are the ones full of life. I hope the very day I die I will have discovered something new. Until then, I hope I am teachable and continually being taught. Because I love learning and can’t imagine a life without it. But I’d rather life be my test, instead of a sheet of paper with bad questions. It’s in the way we live our life that we show how much we’ve really learned.