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Learning December 20, 2010

Posted by daniel ayad in Behaviour.

You never stop learning in life. The minute you are born you start learning, and while learning may take different forms according to the stages of your life, you never stop learning.

Childhood learning represents the type of learning that believes in everything. It’s the innocence when a child will believe whatever a parent or educator says. He will accept everything without argument and learn many things by following the example of others.

Primary and secondary learning is a type of learning based on understanding and absorbing. Learning is based more on discussion and argument, and storing facts of information.

University period becomes a type of learning which partakes in examining and preparing information, and questioning through research. Knowledge is cross-checked objectively.

After the university years, another type of learning begins, when the person enters the practical workforce. You will be practically tested in situations that you have never read or experienced before. To handle these situations you need to be ready for the trials of life.

You might be able to learn from others’ experience, learning from the elderly, the instructors and spiritual fathers. You can learn from books, sermons, and movies.

If people want to learn they will learn, there is a wealth of information available only mouse clicks away. Nobody should use the excuse and say that they can’t learn due to lack of available information.

The people who choose to learn will increase in knowledge and insight, both physically and spiritually. Knowledge is powerful as it allows a person to make informed decisions that direct a person. Happy is the one who learns throughout his life…

To continually learn in life you have to humble yourself. You can learn something from everybody. Different people offer different opinions and insight. Some opinions are helpful and some are hindering. However the second you say that you don’t need to learn from others, you are implying that you know it all and do not need to listen to advice. This is a fatal mistake. You will never know it all, no matter how much you study or how long you live. You can never know everything, and you will probably not even know 5% of everything there is to know.

By accepting to learn from anyone and from everything you will acquire humility[1]. The rewards are great.

Do not think that you are better than someone else. Do not say that I know what I’m doing and you have no idea. Do not criticise somebody and say they are useless, you can still learn something from them in some way…..trust me.

Imagine if you graduated as a Sunday school teacher and chose to stop learning from others. You say to other teachers stop criticising me you don’t know how to teach, or who do you think you are questioning my teaching pedagogy.

Imagine if a bishop refuses to listen to the advice of the priests or other fellow bishops. Imagine if they offer a different opinion but he refuses to think it’s valid solely on the purpose of authority.   

Imagine if a principal refused to listen to the advice of his deputies, or if a deputy refused to listen to the advice of a teacher. What a disaster this could be.

I would just like to share a couple of recent stories related to this. A teacher was retiring this year and the principal was announcing her farewell. The principal mentioned how this teacher gave him advice and he always found the advice helpful and wise. Also the head teacher talked about how this teacher helped him a lot throughout the years. He called her the anchor in the team, and how she kept his methods and practices in check.

Remember that the principal and head teacher are far above her in terms of pay and authority. Technically they are more experienced and qualified than her. But that doesn’t mean they can’t learn from her. That doesn’t mean that other, less experienced people don’t offer helpful advice.

You will be much better off if you accepted to learn from everybody with an open mind and heart ….

[1] H.H Pope Shenouda, Words of Spiritual Benefit, pg 59, 1984  


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