On learning, and quiet Sunday nights.

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.

-Alvin Toffler

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?

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6 thoughts on “On learning, and quiet Sunday nights.

  1. Ooooh…hard question. Seems to me that we learn and play and work and slack off–all in the same place these days–the computer. Maybe it’s easy to cross the beams. We need to get the warm feeling of accomplishment or the nagging feelings of laziness–depending on how we spend our time. And yet, so often, when the good and bad are all spend in the same chair, staring at the same screen…it’s hard to separate the feelings into the proper boxes. I think it’s a focus or lack of focus thing. We can do our homework and chat with friends at the same time. We can play war craft or star craft for hours and begrudge the interruption of a neighbor at the door. Too much going on at one time to get the clear and proper mental/emotional feedback in our brains–I’d say.

    1. That’s a good thought. That’s another topic for another day–being self-aware enough to know what we’re doing and why, at any given moment.

  2. I know I get intimidated by learning… or slack and know that I can turn to someone else to help me. I have to admit that I’m a hand-holder for sure. I would like to think it’s because I just love other people, but I think it’s often because I’m not sure I can do it on my own. Sounds like I need one of those wall hangings too…

    1. Just start small. There’s always something little you can learn, everyday. Nothing complicated. Just each day make a goal to learn something new. You’ll be surprised how it stacks up over time. :)

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