Sunday nights are my favorites. I’ve spent the last several hours adding to my epic final project for a drawing class I’m taking, while listening to pleasant banter between my husband and little brother. They’re playing Battleship, but get this–it’s talking to them. Complete with “DELTA! RADAR! ECHO!” being yelled by the computer commander. I guess, since our Monopoly game lets us swipe a debit card to pay our rent, that Battleship should come with sound effects…they are sinking major naval equipment, after all.
What I love about Sunday night is that it’s the one night when I never have plans. I never feel obligated to clean until my eyes shut, or do some grocery shopping, or catch up on work. I love that it’s a completely set aside evening for being at home. With family. Doing something quiet and slow and relaxing. Since the kiddos go to bed at 7, that’s at least 3 hours of stress-free dreaming and scheming. Lately, those hours have been taken up by my drawing pad and some great pencils, while I refine skills and take as much time as I need to get it perfect. It’s such a different way of approaching a class. Very different than how I learned (or not) in college the first time around. I never really put 100% into my classes as a teenage/early 20s college-goer. I had too much going on, not enough maturity to focus on each thing as I was doing it. So when I graduated with my Linguistics degree, it didn’t feel deserved or earned. It was a cynical and sarcastic exclamation point at the end of several years of run-on sentences.
Now, I’m a mom, and a designer, and I’m taking this class because I want to. Because I want to soak up as much learning as this class can possibly offer me. And if it turns out that I get a degree out of it someday, then I’ll clap for myself and have an ice cream cone. And if not, that’s fine too. I’ve learned what I showed up to class to learn, and I’ve put all my effort into not only this final, but each and every assignment. That feels great to me. In fact, I can’t think of very many things that feel better.
The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.
I love learning, and I wonder sometimes if I’m in the minority. There are so many people who want to have their hands held, want the easy way, want someone to give x, y, and z to them with no effort on their part. Who would rather pay someone else to do something than lift their own finger. I wonder why. And I wonder, if they’ve ever felt the pride and confidence that comes from learning something thoroughly and applying it to a specific problem or need, and finding that they are more than enough to solve it. I hope someday that my own children will be able to feel this, to understand this. To be better because of it.
Why is learning so negative to so many people these days? How can children and youth be taught differently?