Encourage Me to Learn

child and teacherBecause I’m quick at understanding and doing so many things, I can get in real confusion trying to “get” other things. It can feel like it is taking forever.

I can assume that everyone else has some magic ingredient that I don’t have. On the surface I may appear calm, cool, and in-charge, yet, inside I’m screaming with frustration. It’s painful.

In those moments, I can feel alone, unsupported, and not my favorite fan. I can want to give up, get up and avoid the whole thing, or I can get into patterns of making it harder than what it really is. During these times, I can simply forget how learning takes place.

I am slowly realizing that when a new attitude or skill doesn’t come in a snap, I need a lot of compassion, understanding , encouragement, and space. Sometimes I need tiny pieces of new information, which help me see things in a new way. Other times I need to hear the same instruction over and over before it sinks in.

This is when I have a lot of empathy for children with learning styles that can make traditional school-based math or writing hard. I also think of kids with different athletic abilities or different ease in social skills.

One of the best examples of tenacity and support that resulted in amazing success is the story of Temple Grandin. Temple Grandin and Sean Barron, authors of The Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships: Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspective of Autism, describe their step-by-step journeys learning the social skills needed to succeed in relationships and the world. They each took a long and committed journey into the depths of learning something new. Temple wrote repeatedly of her mother’s love, support and faith in her. Her mother was a strong advocate, who rather than do for her, allowed Temple to learn.

Is there an area where you want to get better at something, on the outside either appearing “in the know” or avoiding it, and on the inside feeling vulnerable, as through you are going around in circles? What do you need?

And, what about the children in your life? Do they have buried places that need to be tenderly held by patience, love, and support while being encouraged to take small steps toward new learning and change?

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