Life's About Learning

The photo above is my siblings and I when we were young. I'm the baby in the photo. Although we all came into this world with our own unique personalities and traits, we didn't come into the world automatically knowing what we gradually learned through the years. Some of the things we learned by mistake while some were intentional teachings. What we knew even one year later was so much more than we knew when this photo was taken.

Our lives are very full. We have places to be, things to do, people to see. I have observed through the years that overall people have less patience for the process of learning and less intentional time is being placed on learning some of the things that eventually just become habit for us. For example, it's safe to assume that most adults have mostly mastered the concept of group norms. They know not to shout out in the middle of someone else talking, not to get up and walk right in front of the speaker, wait their turn, etc. However, this isn't something that people just naturally know how to do. They have to be taught. It's not one lesson and most of it is learned in the moment. 

This school year, beyond my work with families, I've gone back to teaching preschool two days a week. Most of my students are three years old. They've already learned so much about the world. Most of them have mastered using the bathroom independently, can drink out of a cup, can walk, can talk, can pick themselves back up after falling, can paint, can build with blocks, etc. The growth that happens in those first three years is amazing. Some of this growth happens accidentally while some of it happens through intentional modeling and teaching. 

Despite all that they already know there's so much still to learn. They don't yet know about being a part of a group, how to make friends, what to do if someone upsets them, etc. Just because they haven't learned these things doesn't mean anything is wrong with them. In fact, it would be strange if they DID all know how to do these things at three years old! Learning takes time. They won't have this mastered within the first few weeks of school, perhaps not even halfway through the school year. They'll get there. 

As you're moving through this world and your day, try to pause to remember that there's still so much to learn. Just because you've mastered something doesn't mean your co-worker has too. It also doesn't mean that your co-worker will never master it. With patience and guidance she can get there. 

When you're feeling frustrated with your child for not getting ready quick enough in the morning step back to think about how this could be taught differently so she could get ready faster. What tools does she need to have to grow in this area? We need to meet kids (all people, actually) where they're at to be able to fully extend their thinking and learning. If we just hope they'll get there, we'll spend more time being frustrated and angry and, in turn, not being very productive. 

Those faces you see above in the picture...we're all adults now between the ages of 39 and 47. We didn't know everything then and we still don't. We're still learning and growing and it's a beautiful thing!

Today try to slow down. Where can learning happen in your life? How could you step back to help your child learn something rather than just getting her to complete the task?