Catching a Love of Learning
I have been thinking a lot about where I came from, how I got here, and where I am going. I was blessed growing up. My parents were both teachers and both loved to learn and who taught me to love learning–not book learning and school but real, day to day, learning.
My dad was a mathematician who taught math and later took up teaching computers. He kept me immersed in science though I refused the maths side of it. He loved all things nature and gave me a fascination of museums and nature documentaries. He taught me how to experiment, explore, and love the world I found around me. He taught me how to work hard with my hands and to glory in the results. He taught me to love learning for the sake of learning.
My mother, on the other hand, was an art student who loved the crafts side of art and to read. She often taught arts and crafts to others and exposed me to many different media and materials. She also made sure I was exposed to the great artists and lots and lots of books. Between her and my grandparents–who subscribed me to numerous book clunbs over the years, I had more books than any of the kids I knew many with beautiful illustrations. We also spent plenty of time at the library and in the summers would go to the art museum .
My parents never gave me art lessons or drawing books, instead they exposed me to nature and good artists. They taught me to research the things I was interested in, to proof read and to make rough drafts of things. My love of learning and my interests were not learned in school–they were caught by being exposed to many thing, by seeing my parents with their multitude of interests, by watching them learn, and by asking lots and lots of questions. Because my parents encouraged me to pursue what I was interested in instead of just doing what they were doing, because my parents had many hobbies and were constantly learning new things, because they encouraged me to do the same, I learned how to teach myself, how to explore and research, to find out what I wanted to know and what interested me.
What is interesting is that this particular form of education–which I value more highly than anything I learned in “school” and which is one of the reasons we take this same approach with our own children, allowed me to develop beyond my parents. I would not describe my parents as having great taste or of being particularly wise or deep–not that I am perfect either. They are themselves and each has as many good qualities as bad. However, their love of learning and their willingness for myself and my brothers to grow in knowledge and understanding and to love learning was right and out of that environment each of us developed into our own person with our own tastes and individual ideas. We may have each attended public school but it was our home-life and the love of learning their that shaped us and made us who we are today–and though my youngest brother is still in high school both my other brother and I are following our dreams, continuing the legacy of learning and growing, both self-teaching as needed instead of relying on outside teachers to impart knowledge.