Wednesday, March 2, 2011
I had always associated that learning came from an academic institution. Students sat in neat little rows, teachers paced in front of the crowd fingers smudged with chalk. The information transfer based usually upon meeting some sort of criteria governed by a board somewhere.
I realize now that I am often being schooled.
I have mentioned many times my philosophy that “in life, not every classroom has a desk, nor every church a steeple.” I have found that life experience presents us with educational opportunities in random format and context. Our teachers often have no chalkboard, degree, or spend time in the teacher’s lounge. The most important and enduring lessons arrive like a sucker-punch via delivery of a formidable instructor.
I then reflected upon my experience. I realized the faculty of the “University of Me” was vast as well. I didn’t know I was in class, but I have many diplomas. I have had many mentors, teachers, sensei’s, gurus, and coaches.
I realize all experiences past and present are presented to teach me something. Whether or not the “subject” is relative to me or another, I try to be connected to what I am supposed to gather. This is the practical side of learning I expected so many years ago. Be careful of what you ask for.
I must have failed everything I studied in my first twelve years, because I have had many remedial lessons ever since that day in 1983.
I have learned a lot about social studies. Just watch CNN. I interact with my neighbors. I watch my kids interact on the playground. I see the social climate change. I have a feeling this lesson is going to have a tough midterm.
I have revisited Home EC and have fared well. I found self reliance and the key to Home EC has a lot to what we do in service of others before ourselves. Through practical lessons I have learned to cook, clean, do laundry, and I can sew a button. Most of these lessons imposed through the desire to eradicate hunger, dirt, sloth, and inconvenience–not only for myself, but those I love.
Shop – Stuff breaks, we must fix it. I have yet to make an ashtray or birdhouse though.
Physics – You drop something it could break. Gravity. You push something up hill. More effort. Eat too much. Mass.
Psychology – Some people are nuts. Some are not. Some are “quirky.” To other people you are nuts.
Government – I wish it was still only a 45 minute class every other day where the answers were in the back of the book.
Foreign language – It used to be where I was from there were two languages: English and redneck. The melting pot has obviously gotten “meltier.” And that is okay.
I guess I am thankful not so much for the lessons, but my teachers have been vast and colorful. I find those I once considered adversaries have taught me the most. I have learned patience, acceptance, compassion, humility, respect, and that if I mess up, and if I don’t agree with you, it is not your fault.
I have learned that age has nothing to do with wisdom. My kids have taught me among the most about myself. They have mirrored back to me my flaws so I can fix them in time to become the father I wish I had as well as to remember and respect the qualities in my father(s) I so dearly love. They took me back to innocence and accountability.
My wife has shown me balance, respect, humility, and that the desire to “always be right” is an unflattering trait. I realize that others can hold the key to our completion. Sometimes those we may find occasional opposition with are often our strongest allies when the real battles appear.