Barefoot Parenting*: Learning to Teach and Teaching to Learn
One of the things I love most about childhood is the perpetual learning.
We as adults can think learning takes place in the classroom, or in reading books, or in Googling questions on our phones or perusing academic articles. Sure, learning happens here. Academic learning has value and is important. The issue is when all the other kinds of experience and learning and growth and exploration and play are reduced to a second-class status; as if they have little to no educational import.
For myself, I know that one of the best ways for me to learn something is to be accountable to teach it. If I have begun an inquiry into a subject, the surest way to stall my progress is to have no perceived reason to study. Somehow, seeing the need to present the content gives me the incentive to master it, present it, practice it, and engage with the other learners. So as a parent of three, an aspiring life-long-learner, and an integrated and authentic human, I have the opportunity to learn to teach as I teach to learn.
Each child is different, and engagement with them on their level not only gives them room to grow and facilitates their learning, but it helps me see the world through refreshed eyes. I am reminded to play, not take myself too seriously, and yet to be fully immersed in what I am doing.
I suppose what I'm finding out is this: The journey of learning can be as fun for me as it is for my kids.
Whether or not you have kids, being around children and seeing from their perspective as we guide and help them is an honor, a privilege, and a deeply formative experience for everyone if we so choose.