Learning–Relevance (and Passion) Equals Readiness

Learning–Relevance (and Passion) Equals Readiness

We learn when we are ready. My son came to me a few years ago as he was starting college, after a brief time in adult education following his entire elementary and high school education being homeschooled (actually unschooled, but that’s another post!), and he complained to me: “You never taught me how to do grammar!”. So I did what any self-respecting unschooling parent might do: I told him a story that goes like this:

There were two friends—one lived in the city and the other in the country. The country friend wanted her city friend to take a gardening course with her. Having just bought a house, she was excited that she could finally plant and grow her own food. The city friend wrinkled her nose and said she was not at all interested, that she only had a balcony and would rather buy fresh produce at the local city market. Years went by and the city friend eventually moved to the suburbs. She asked her country friend about gardening because now she had a huge yard and wanted to plant a garden. Her friend was happy to share her experience and knowledge…and you get the point by now. The city friend was finally ready. Learning about gardening was suddenly relevant!

Interestingly my son walked away shaking his head. He was learning the mechanics of writing, which was now useful to him in college because he needed to pass an English course as part of his program. My chasing my kid with grammar and spelling workbooks and writing exercises all those years had often been met with groans and pleading to do something else. How we ever managed to get my child literate, I will never know!

But the take-away is far more important and it is this: we learn when we are ready. Usually we are only open and motivated to learning something when we find it in our best interests to know it. Think about when we search the Internet–we want to know something so we watch a YouTube how-to video. Perhaps we’re even reading this blog for the very same reason—we are ready to receive the information. Isn’t this what learning is all about? Isn’t this what learning should be about?

So next time you find yourself resisting learning, look at that. Pay attention to the relevance, to the WHY. Are you learning for you? Is this subject something you would want to learn no matter what? What would you rather be learning? These questions are key to unlocking your passion and studying topics that interest you. When we learn what we like, we like what we learn. This also connects with doing what we love. A book entitled “Do what you love. The money will follow.” by Marsha Sinetar, captures the essence of passion in finding one’s right livelihood. What would you love to learn if you could love learning?

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