I am writing this on a chilly, rainy day in early September. Students of all grade levels have gone back to school. I hear the distant hum of buzzers, see children with their backpacks walking around, and hear their chatter on the bus. These are our citizens of tomorrow – the doctors, lawyers, politicians, teachers, and community workers.
Much of their education will take place in the classroom. At the same time, much of it will also take place elsewhere. Learning is a dynamic activity that can happen anywhere and continues throughout life. Yet for some, there is resistance to new ideas and information. I had a teacher in junior high who proudly told our class that he had never touched the key of a computer. Somehow, I doubt that over the years he has been able to maintain his technological purity.
I know people who vote a certain way in every election, simply because their parents did. They accept whatever candidate happens to be running in their area without questioning that person’s views. This is yet another example of how refusing to learn stifles change personally, with effects that extend to the rest of society.
Just as we are learners throughout life, so too are we teachers. We influence those around us with our words and actions. Our attitudes towards literacy, social issues, and trying new things can have a huge impact. I often pay attention to what my friends are reading. As well, I know I have friends who have read a book, watched a movie, or attempted to do something like write poetry or juggle, because of my enthusiasm.
To put it simply, when we stop learning, we stop growing. Let’s take time to learn new things and encourage others to learn from us.