Saturday, September 12, 2015

Life is a school and EVERYONE is a student!

I had the luxury of sleeping in this morning and opened my eyes to these exact words. Yet, there were many times that I believed what I was told by others to be the truth before researching the facts and getting other view points. If everyone is a student of life, this would mean we all can benefit from learning from each other instead of arguing and fighting over which person is right. If everyone is a student, including our parents, and the entire family was aware of it, I believe there would be more compassion and understanding. It would also have been nice if we were taught from a very early age how to communicate peacefully. If I found out my parents were students when I was young, I would have strived to ask more questions, especially about their own upbringing and what life was like when they were growing up. I would have found out much sooner, that maturity is a gift that not everyone obtains.

What if we were told we were all students in pre-school and kindergarten? Can you imagine what school would have been like if our assignments were to bring in information on something we are interested in and share this with our classmates instead of enduring a strict lesson plan and teachers controlling everything we learn? I know my son would have loved to do this. When I picked him up after his first day of kindergarten, he told me, “School is dumb! They just try to teach me things I already know!” Then by the third day of kindergarten, he figured out how to read. Instead of reading children’s books, he spent hours browsing through the pages of my sister’s encyclopedias. We thought he was just looking at the pictures, but he began telling us what he had read. I approached his kindergarten teacher about letting students like my son help teach class, but the answer was a defiant NO. My son would not back down, though, and was often sent to the principal’s office.

David Curan, a teacher in Montana, came up with an exercise relating to journalistic writing which was not directly about writing non-fiction but how non-fiction is chosen for the media. He cut out short newspaper clippings that he found interesting and pasted them to 8.5 x 11 sheets which he made copies of and distributed to his students. He divided the class into groups and explained that each group was their own television news station. Then he explained that much of the news comes in over what is called a wire service and that hundreds of articles come in. Their job was pick enough stories to give a three minute presentation that they would give in front of the class. They could pick someone to be the newsperson or everyone could take a turn presenting, but the group had to present three minutes of news. After the presentation, he asked the students if they thought the news on television gives them all the news. How did they pick what they presented? I think you get the idea here. The newspapers and media have limited space and we are rarely getting the whole story about anything, jumping to conclusions too quickly based on what we read and hear. Many times the information has been verbally passed down and by the time we get it, the original message is lost.

One of the games I remember the strongest was a kid was when you whispered something to the person next to you and told them to pass it on. By the time it came back to you, it was completely different. Whenever I hear from someone what they heard from someone else, I am cautious about taking their word for it.

I’ve also learned that we all have different communication styles which can cause confusion on how information we are told gets processed. In my college communications class I learned it was important to give feedback to the person we are listening to and make sure we understood what they were telling us - both in business and in our personal lives. Of course, I forgot about this soon after and often misunderstood what was being told to me, which often resulted in my feelings getting hurt. If it is so easy to misunderstand what we are told, how can you expect to hear the truth after it has funneled down through several people?

Life is a school and EVERYONE is a student. Whether it is politics, medicine, religion, or something else, I plead with you all to read and listen to news with a grain of salt and decide for yourself what you will believe. I also plead with you to acknowledge how easy it is to misunderstand what you hear before you jump to conclusions and make snap judgments about people. Imagine what an epidemic of compassion could bring to our world!

2 comments:

  1. I clearly remember the first time my two sons clearly disagreed with my assessment and decision on a certain topic. I was very clear when I told them there was really no good school for becoming a great parent. I reminded them that my decision would stand, but that if it turned out in the end I'd made the wrong choice, that I would learn from it and not make the same mistake again. From that day forward, instead of arguing, they responded with something to the effect of, "That's OK Mom, you're learning and don't feel bad, you're doing a good job." Pretty impressive when you deny them the ability to do something they really wanted to do because your instincts tell you it's not a good idea.

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