I made a few interesting observations this week, and noted a pattern about teaching and learning and independence.
I babysat for my grand baby Friday night. While playing with her Friday and Saturday morning, it was clear to me that she was focused on standing up by herself.
She couldn’t quite do it without assistance. She had the strength, and she had the flexibility - but it hadn’t all quite ‘clicked’ for her. My son spent the entire afternoon with Vivian trying to work her way up to standing. She was using his leg for support and he then helped her for the final push up.
Then on Sunday, her mom fortunately caught her on video attempting to pull herself up on the coffee table in front of the sofa. She made two solid attempts, and with an ever so slight adjustment in her hips that made all the difference, she triumphantly stood up!
She continued to stand up and sit down the rest of the day and every couple hours that night too, much to her parents dismay. She was so intent on doing the standing over and over once she got it. No one told her to practice. She knew it instinctively.
I, my son and daughter in law tried to show Vivi how to pull up and stand, but she needed to put it all together for herself.
We could not teach her that moment when it all 'clicks'.
It’s amazing to think about, but we really can’t fully explain to ourselves how we stand up, let alone explain it to a baby. We just do it naturally, and now, so will Vivi for the rest of her life.
The second observation was made at a Rotary meeting. The parent organization is comprised of mainly over 50, successful business professionals. They’ve been in their careers for some time. They like the networking of Rotary and are service minded people that join together for meetings and fellowship, while contributing to the community and society.
There is a younger group of professionals under 40 mainly and more women in the group, that have been creating their version of Rotary for a couple of years, as a satellite of the ‘parent’ group. The word ‘parent’ is the keyword, as this group is not comfortable with the oversight of the umbrella club.
Independence and ‘doing it our own way’ are the driving forces of the satellite group. Structure and adherence to policy and protocol is a necessity for the larger Rotary group. The different styles are causing some disharmony in this organization.
Both groups are well intentioned, and as my mom recently said “It seems a shame that what we’ve learned in life is seldom listened to by the next generation.”
And so it often goes, with any age, I contend.
We have a natural instinct, just as Vivi did, to ‘figure it out ourselves’. The “click” that needs to occur for us to master or embrace the challenge we are struggling with, must come from within.
Others can guide us to a point and can provide the initial awareness of the possibility - but then, it’s up to us to actually conquer the challenge. No one can teach us without our internal “aha moment” of “yes I get it now” happening.
The last observation this week, came in yoga class, where I noticed that the teacher really leads us through a set of postures verbally, demonstrating at times and gently and slightly adjusting our positioning, mainly to insure we do not harm ourselves and so we get closer to the ‘feel’ of the position. We must actually do the postures and breathe into them as suggested.
No one can do it for us. Nor can they teach it to us through words and demonstrations.
No matter what words are used to instruct, if my body is not yet ready to do a posture, I will not be able to do it. I must teach myself and gradually over time, everything may “click” and I will be able to do whatever I set my mind and intentions on.
There is often a push and pull among generations, and I believe it is healthy.
Experience is a great teacher, but up to a point.
We each have unique gifts to share and different life paths, even when they appear to be generally the same.
The beauty of teaching and coaching for me is leading to self discovery.
We are the designer of our own destiny, and others can provide guideposts and shed some light along the path.
Ultimately, we either learn or we don’t. In the truest sense, WE TEACH OURSELVES, through discovery and using the wisdom of others to light our paths.
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