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This week’s WordPress Discover Challenge is on the topic of Learning so let’s talk about that. They say that “Learning is a lifelong activity” but is that oversimplification? The older I get the more that statement bears truth.

…in EDUCATION

Whether in my own years as a student or spending 8 years teaching in a university environment, I’ve seen many people whose line of work was a completely departure from their field of study. In such cases, it’s easy to wonder whether the years of study might’ve been a waste of time, but I don’t think so.¬† Time at university teaches much more than mere subject matter. One learns

  • how to express oneself verbally & in writing
  • how to formulate arguments & defend a point of view
  • how to negotiate conflict
  • how to understand & work within hierarchy, etc.

MUCH learning takes place which is not from a text-book.

…in the WORKPLACE

My dad’s generation got a job and kept it for virtually their entire life. Those kinds of employer-employee relationships are getting increasingly rare. Already in my generation (I’m in my 40’s), and certainly for those younger, rotating change in employment is a fact of life.

Although that can be seen as a negative (it’s not perceived to be as stable as work life of my dad’s generation) it need not be seen as such. Multiple changes in employment can also reflect upward mobility in skills, position or affluency.

Learning goes hand in hand with such change… indeed you won’t survive without it.

…in RELATIONSHIPS

Learning, in the context of relationships is nothing if not a mixed bag… a mix of both positive and negative elements… good news stories and bad news stories.

Let’s have the “bad news” first:

Over time, relationships change. It cannot be avoided. I daresay that you too have experienced a relationship “gone awry” or “gone south”… people in our lives that, for one reason or another, we have to learn to live without. It could be a loved one who has passed, a spouse or child that has left or a friend who’s gone. Sometimes they simply drift away while other times they leave abruptly, slamming the proverbial door on their way out.

In those cases, we must learn to work through the pain and mourn the accompanying sense of loss. It is NOT easy and does NOT happen quickly.

How ’bout the “good news”?

No relationship is 100% good, 100% of the time, but learning can help us get past what can seem negative at the time.

My wife and I were married in 1997. We were not a “love at first sight” couple and we hadn’t known each other long enough to bathe our wedding day in statements like “Today I’m marrying my best friend”. In fact, early on, I would hear couples constantly make statements like that and I would be tempted to wonder what was wrong with my marriage… “Am I indeed ‘with the right one’?”

I’ve also lived long enough to have seen some of those marriages fall apart.

Have there been times when frustration or anger have had me consider calling it quits? I couldn’t say that the thought hasn’t crossed my mind, but never seriously enough to take action. We both decided early on that divorce was not an option.

I have learned, through the years of married life, that any of my wifes “faults” (more often annoyances than faults and more often perceived than real), are far outweighed by my wife’s strengths. Indeed her strengths complete my weaknesses on so many levels. Thank God she’s there to complete the team!

I have learned the value of perseverance: working through annoyances that may be blown out of proportion in order to grow into something truly valuable… long-term family stability.

Time… the great equalizer

Here’s the thing… often, the greatest test of our learning is time.

  • How do you know if you’ve truly learned something?
    See if you still know it 5 weeks from now.
  • How do you know if you’ve truly “learned your lesson”?
    See if you repeat the same behavior the next time a situation arises

 

Be patient with yourself today. Learning is a process and while some things need to be learned according to a time schedule, a great number of things – indeed sometimes the most important things – are learned over time.

There’s still so much to learn.

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