In Others’ Words: Learning and Changing

Change is end result. Buscaglia. 2014

I was the kid who liked to go to school. The kid who never worried about report cards — well, except when it came to math class. The kid who thought learning was fun and who, to this day, still gets excited when school supplies go on sale.

And yes, all my years in school  changed me — elementary right on through high school and on through college. I learned lots and lots of things. Facts about history and literature and music and art and science and yes, even enough about math to know math and I will never, ever get along. By the time I graduated, I went from someone who didn’t know her ABCs to someone who could write a college essay.

But the truest learning came through the people I met along the way. Classmates. Teachers. Advisors. Mentors. My interactions with others, my relationships, resulted in the greatest changes. Sometimes I learned more about myself. Sometimes I lost myself. Sometimes I caught a truer glimpse of God — and sometimes Truth was muddied with personal opinion and yes, even propaganda.

Learning doesn’t happen in a vacuum — never has, never will. Learning happens as I experience life with and through other people — sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. Change happens, and sometimes change has to be undone. Being willing to learn, to change, is part of the process. Being willing to unlearn a falsehood is an even greater part of life.

In Your Words: How has “true learning” happened in your life? Who has taught you something that changed you? When have you had to unlearn something and replace it with the truth?

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  1. October 22, 2014, 1:06 am   /  Reply

    I loved school, too. It offered unparalleled opportunities for creating chaos and mayhem. Like the time the Head came to his office in the morning and found the building wrapped with a couple of miles of chain, and barricaded by 40 lunch tables. Now that was a GOOD night’s work!

    Then there was the school drug dealer…I didn’t and don’t approve of drugs, so I dealt with him rather harshly one day, in front of the Vice Head, who was undoubtedly surprised that a big chap like the dealer actually COULD be thrown through a window without touching the frame.

    I guess most of what I have learned would fall under the heading of Cautionary Tales. Don’t fly an airplane through main transmission lines was one.

    Horses don’t always jump fences when you want them to was another.

    A motorcycle can go through a barbed-wire fence, but not very far…that was memorable.

    And, “Hey, dude, watch THIS!” is a funny example of what might be one’s last earthly words, but it’s hardly a good motto by which life should be lived.

    But I did it anyway.

    And I would not change a thing.

    • October 22, 2014, 7:33 pm   /  Reply

      Oh. My. Word.
      Andrew … Andrew …Andrew …
      It’s been the kind of day when I coudn’t get back to my blog until now. And then I read your commment and I think, “Why am I surprised that this–all of this–is part of my friend’s learning experiences?”
      And I most definitely not surprised that you dealt with the drug dealer.

      • October 22, 2014, 10:42 pm   /  Reply

        Yes, throwing the druggie through the window was satisfying. I’d seen some good friends get their lives sideways, and decided to see if I could influence matters.

        There is something to be said for being willing to try anything; true danger is generally further away than one might think, and in the cuts and bruises there is learning of a sort that cannot be acquired any other way. I’s very much a visceral thing, and is painted on the memory in vivid hues.

        But I do think that The Scaffold Hula took things a bit too far.

        A friend and I were tasked to build a 50-ft scaffold tower, but instead of tying it off at every level we left it free-standing all the way up. We ‘christened’ by doing a hula on top, which of course got the whole assembly swaying.

        Idiotic, yes….but I’m glad I did it.

  2. October 22, 2014, 5:01 am   /  Reply

    Hi Beth,

    I remember how excited I was to start school, but you’re right. Life experiences can sometimes be the best teacher. Both good and bad.

    Thanks for sharing and have a great day!

    • October 22, 2014, 7:35 pm   /  Reply

      Another school lover like me! 🙂
      And yes, the experiences both in and out of school are what stuck with me longer than any homework I did.

  3. October 22, 2014, 6:52 am   /  Reply

    School was my go to happy pace. I was devastated when I contracted measles, told them my red skin was from being a tiny percentage Indian, and begged to stay. Later I discovered church and that became major but I’m sure school, and absolutely great experiences there, made me want to become the bet teacher I could be for the past 40 years and counting. I’m thankful for how that has enriched me.

    • October 22, 2014, 7:37 pm   /  Reply

      Love this, Dee. You loved school and you became a teacher — and I know you’ve influence so many as a teacher!
      And I love your creativity about the measles … 🙂

  4. October 22, 2014, 8:46 am   /  Reply

    I always loved school, too, but life has definitely been my teacher. And sometimes I had to do things more than once to learn not to do it again. 🙂

    • October 22, 2014, 7:37 pm   /  Reply

      Oh, yes … the “more than once” lessons. Yeah. Those stick, don’t they?

  5. October 22, 2014, 9:20 am   /  Reply

    Beth, when my sister and I were homeschooling, I was the one who always asked for work two or three weeks before we officially started the school year. And I asked to do another research paper. But I tried my best to get out of science (I regret this now, years later). I enjoyed math okay, but I never dreamed I’d be a math tutor, but that’s what I am (I tutor in other subjects, as well).

    My parents always instilled manners in my sister and me, but I think it’s when I learned about history that I really learned about chivalry and the days before the feminist movement that “advanced” women’s rights. What’s so wrong with being a housewife? That’s been my dream since as far back as the fourth grade. I don’t like that the world tells me that’s not okay. So I choose not to listen to that voice. I, instead, choose to listen to God’s voice. He’s the one that gave me that dream. He’s the one who will fulfill it, according to His time frame. Now, there are perks to this feminism thing. I don’t just have to be a housewife. I can have a writing career alongside that dream (thanks for the reminder and encouragement in that direction, by the way). Maybe I’m old-fashioned in my thinking. Maybe I belong to a different era altogether (the 1950s have always intrigued me). But God placed these ideals in my heart, and He placed me on this earth in the late 1980s. I’m sure both are for a reason, I just haven’t figured them out yet. But I will. Because He will show me.

    God bless you!

    • October 22, 2014, 7:39 pm   /  Reply

      God bless you too!
      And yes, you are here at your appointed time — but chivalry and values are never outdated. So live out what you believe. Be you — and embrace the life God has given you. It’s a gift. You are a gift.

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