Today I found myself remembering teachers from my past that have inspired me, encouraged me and ignited my imagination. I miss that feeling… This got me thinking. Who are my teachers today? And how can I jump start my learning again?
When we’re at school/university it’s clear what we’re learning and who is teaching us – it’s a very deliberate and organised process. But once we’re out in the big wide world learning is far less structured, less organised and depends very much on what we do/seek, how curious and keen to learn we are.
One might feel we are learning all the time in this global information age, as we are bombarded by information & we have access to news as it happens all around the world. But are we really learning, are we growing, if so what are we learning? TS Elliot put it well – “Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge, where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”.
Some might feel we are just floating with the tide, wedded to the same routines and habits every day, making the same mistakes again and again. When we’ve had too much, we escape into a film, a novel or on holiday. What little we learn is absorbed passively from the TV, newspapers and the internet. We learn many lessons passively: look after yourself; you can’t trust anyone; live for the moment; fulfill your dreams; spend your way to happiness; your success is defined by what your possess. It’s not surprising that we live in a society plagued with worry, depression & stress.
One thing is for sure, if we want to change the situation, we have to change our behaviour; and if we want to change our behaviour, we have to change our thinking.
I once read that “A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others. ” but we rarely see this in our modern times.
However, if you look carefully you’ll find great teachers all around you. Throughout our adult life we come into contact with many mentors and guides that give us their time, support and encouragement, pushing us to stretch our boundaries.
We need to surround ourselves with such people that challenge us, make us think, question and grow. All the world is a laboratory to the inquiring mind.
It’s no surprise that our learning grinds to a halt as we grow older, as we get busy with ‘life-admin’, we stop asking questions, and think we know enough.
Whatever age we are, whatever stage we’re at, we can reaffirm our commitment to learning, strive to open our minds, be curious, be inquisitive and be devoted to the pursuit of knowledge. There is so much to learn still about ourselves, about each other, about human relationships, about life and about the world.
What are we waiting for?