Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"Do Some Learning. Okay?"

A week ago today I was sitting on a small town Iowa front porch writing in my journal, when I heard a man call, "Do some learning today. Okay?"

I looked up to see three boys, each about a head shorter than the other, walking from the porch across the way.  The man stood by a woman in the door as she waved.

School had started.  I was on School Street and the local school was only two houses away from me.

"Do some learning" the man said.

I wondered, 'Will he talk to his sons about what each learned at the day's end? Will they share or go their separate ways?  In this Iowa town is learning measured through academic test scores or how children respond creatively to questions and think outside the box?  Will what's learned be reflected in how they treat their peers especially those who are different?  Will they learn to treat themselves kindly and patiently or will they learn to judge and be hard on themselves?' 

And I wondered, 'Will this man, a father, be open to learning as well?'  

True learning involves openness and reflection.  At times it stirs discomfort or at least it does for me because learning requires vulnerability, uncertainty and not knowing.  

Learning takes time.  Yet in today's world, some would  say they don't have time to learn because of bills to pay, deadlines to meet, meetings to make or they're easily distracted by the worry de jour (bed bugs, weather, fill in the blank), while 'learning' the latest pop culture news and what politicians and corporations are doing behind our back.

Deep learning requires suspending what I think is right in order to consider all options including those counter to mine. This learning asks: "What is wise?"

Real learning for me has come late in life not through education and degrees but through hands-on getting to see, do, and sense through personal experience.  The learning that is richest for me involves listening within as I pay attention without.  Getting out of school is just the beginning of learning, isn't it?  

I imagine other souls in the starry universe shouting to each of us in the beginning as we make our way Earthward, calling out, "Do some learning. Okay?"

And I can imagine in the end when I return from whence I came I won't be asked how much money I made, what I drove, where I lived or if I made my family proud. I doubt I'm asked if I was the brightest or most athletic.

I suspect I'll hear: "Tell us what you learned!!"  I imagine other souls will gather 'round to hear what my soul learned about being in this body with this particular heart and mind.  Was I the best me I could be?

Imagine the shift of doing some learning today.  

-Dawn, The Still Learning Good News Muse, 3 September 2013

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