“We are mostly teaching what we need to learn. We also teach best what we most need to learn”
Recently, I came across those words of wisdom (above) from the book
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (by Richard Bach). That line was shared by Kiran Gulrajani – on the online forum of the Learning Societies UnConference.
And, the learning is on. Every single day.
It may sound like I’m blowing my own trumpet but that’s not my intention. 🙂 As you may have gotten by now, from the title of this post, I have learned that my learning and curiosity enriches the life of Pari in more ways than I can ever fathom. For, whatever I do, seek, create, learn, it somehow flows through the whole family including Pari.
And, then there are pursuits exclusively her own. And, I haven’t been left untouched either. I’ve taken an active interest in what she gets excited about.
So, the learning flows both ways and we give each other curious company.
Pari and me side-by-side in an art workshop – both learning the nuances of acrylic painting
Can Curiosity-deficit Adults Teach/Mentor Children?
I find it hard to digest that adults whose curiosity to learn has been dried up can be in a position to teach children – those young learners who are a powerhouse of curiosity and imagination; who are willing to drink from a well of new sights, smells, sounds, clues, textures, hues….
When the adult – teacher or parent – is not willing to explore/learn, how can she teach anyone, much less children who thrive on exploring something new every moment.
As I see parents send their children to this class and that class so they can learn this and that – be it music, dance, martial arts, public speaking et al, I wonder why those parents would not think about joining a class themselves so they can get their minds ticking and thinking like kids. Are their days over? Is there an age to learn something new? Is their life over?
They don’t hesitate to invest in the best learning gear – in sports, music, technology, art – for their children; they rush to book fairs so as to buy more and more – children’s books that is! That’s understandable. We want to give the best to our children. But, are we being the best examples of learning that they can look upto?
How often do parents pick up that guitar lying in the corner and gathering dust? How long has it been since they dipped their paint brush in colours to experience the fun of making art? (well, you definitely don’t need to be good at art to make art!). When did they last go to the terrace to marvel at the night sky. What was the last time that they got soaked in rain or jumped bare feet in the puddles…?
When children see the adults/parents/teachers pursue learning like there’s no tomorrow, they get the idea. They feel the enthusiasm, they get into the flow.
When Pari sees me following my interests and passion, she gets excited to pursue her own (or mine).
Those times when she declared she’s not interested…
So, there was a phase when she said, with an air of non-chalance, “I don’t think art is my interest. It may be yours. Not mine.” I acknowledged that and let her be. But, I continued to make art whenever I had the time (I actually created time no matter what). Seeing me engrossed in art, she would come and sit next to me, even though she may not make herself. And then came the marathon art project that I took up during my 8th month of pregnancy – the 30-day leaf art challenge. A few days into that challenge and Pari sat next to me each evening (and night) that I made my leaf art. She made her own art – zentangle leaves, Kingfisher, sea-shore – whatever struck her fancy. She even blogged about it.
I knew this might happen. Though, I never started that project to get her back. But, she just couldn’t resist. That path was strewn with genuine enthusiasm – the enthusiasm was mine. She got encircled and became my parter in art and curiosity.
For children to become curious learners, they need parents and teachers to live a full life…
…..yes, a life filled with curiosity, enthusiasm and a love for learning. Age? What’s that go to do with learning?
This quality (wanting to explore and learn something new) alone is a good enough starting point to be a great unschooling partner for my children. And then, of-course, virtues like being kind, loving, understanding, fun (yes, fun, and not boring!) and patient make for a great un-schooling team at home.
What are you learning these days? Please share and I’ll add to my list of things to learn. 🙂
The post ‘How a Mother’s Curiosity Can Fuel a Child’s Learning‘ was first published on Mommy Labs.
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