Friday, July 1, 2005

... and know they love you

Will this humidity never end? Will we be forced to move to Thunder Bay? Where are the Arctic Clippers when one needs them?

This is an addendum of sorts to a previous entry; I should have mentioned that the Creator has imposed upon me a third requirement: learn as much as you may.

To be able to love to learn, and to learn to love ... these are precious gifts, bequeathed to us by our Creator, so precious, indeed, that without them, we would not be what we are.

I was inspired by a recent Thomas Friedman column (and a certain meme) to reminisce about my school days. There was a time when I would have liked to have been a teacher, but the thought of dealing with a classroom filled with children was daunting. I sometimes wonder if maybe a tutor is a teacher who is intimidated by large numbers of children.

I had a few teachers who were enthusiastic about their profession and truly enjoyed having the opportunity to shape young minds. They loved life and learning, and could not help but impart their joy and enthusiasm to their students. These are the luminaries who shine most brightly in memory.

One of the few regrets that I have is that I am unable, because of my limitations, to be an effective mentor to someone who might profit from my experience. It is not so much that I wish to shape anyone's mind (that would be anathema to me; I feel that most people should think for themselves), but that I would like youths to know how important it is to love life and to love learning, because life is learning. Each second of each day, each experience one undergoes, is an opportunity to learn.

There are some who feel that unless one is continuously occupied with work, one is somehow unproductive. This is simply not so. If a person is sitting upon the ground in a park, leaning back against the trunk of a tree, watching clouds pass by, that one is learning much about nature and, if watching others stroll by, about human nature as well. Our brains are continually receiving input from the environment and processing it, providing a database from which one can draw as necessary. Those who understand and make use of this internal database are more equipped to deal with the variety of experience that life insists upon throwing our way.

All learning is important, from the knowledge that one can obtain from books and the Internet, to the invaluable knowledge one receives from personal experimentation. Ideally, a person will take what he or she learns from books and apply it real-world problems.

I would most particularly like to tell youths that they should follow their interests and instincts. The people who most often succeed in life are those who follow their inspirations.

Religion is often a touchy subject, but I believe that youths need a grounding in religion, and should also be encouraged to explore the beliefs of others, because there is a surprising amount of common ground among religions, not the least of which is the way in which people ought treat and care for each other. Religion does provide a framework for how one regards life and the world, and in that respect it is worthwhile. Where it fails is in creating conflict among those of slightly differing beliefs, instead of fostering universal fellowship.

Our children are our hope for the future, and their natural curiosity about what they discover should be encouraged by those whose profession it is to educate them.



sistercdr said...

I can't tell you how much I love this.  I worked on becoming a professional teacher.  Circumstances made me change directions, and I haven't regretted it.  A good teacher receives a calling to the job, in my opinion, and there are far too many posers out there who only want summers off.  Learning is perhaps the most valuable thing we can do, and it can happen anywhere.

lamove04 said...

It worked for Thoreau... (leaning against a tree, that is)
Beautiful entry!!!  --Albert