One of my oldest, closest, and dearest friends revealed to me that I played an important part in her attitude towards school, learning and education. She told me that one of the most striking memories she keeps until today from her first day of school involves me, and the way I tried to comfort her. Apparently, I walked straight up to her and said something like “Don’t be afraid! You will love school!” Pretty wise I would say for the third grader, that I was. I guess I felt entitled to support her. We were neighbours and friends, living on the same dusty street, sharing the same curiosities, playing, and discovering the village and the world, limited back then to the margins of our small local community.
We both grew up and in the process of becoming adults, we chose to study in different cities, we chose to make a living in countries different than the one we were born in. On this unpredictable journey, we both kept the curiosity that united us in our childhood. And both continued to learn. A new skill, a new way of living, a new language. We continued and we continue to educate ourselves.
We both were very good students with great school results, but I doubt that any of us imagined in the small village we first learned to use a pen, that learning is more than the formal schooling and that learning never ends.
I realised that I treasure greatly the friends who, somehow, managed to keep and bring into their adulthood the innocence and the curiosity of their childhood. They want to see, learn, and discover. They look around and they are amazed. They know that life is learning, and that learning is life. And they know something else too: that every single person, no matter how young or how old, has stories to tell and experiences to share, for those willing to listen.
I am a firm believer that education, and schooling in general, is key to development. The school was my trampoline and opened doors and paved ways that otherwise would not have been accessible to me. But growing up I got to understand that the most important education is the one we receive outside of the classrooms.
And the best examples are the children. They learn by copying the behaviours of adults. Children use the imagination with boldness and become fearless in discovering the world around them. Children use stories and come up with conclusions and solutions far more brave than the ones already tested. Children ask questions and are not afraid of trying and failing. And the only moment that counts is NOW.
As adults, we all can learn from children. There is so much wisdom and there is so much truth hidden in their games and in their words. Do not disregard a child, only because is a child and you might think “he doesn’t know what he says”. A child intuitively creates unique ways, fresh ones, magical ones. And this enchanted outlooks worth our time and our attention. Stepping into the children’s perspectives, will enrich our existence, will unlock gates unknown to adults and new universes will be brought into the spot light.
And next to children, usually silently seatted, are the grandparents. The elderly, the wise and the experienced. The ones who went through so many challenges and battles, and have gained the insight needed to discern the relevant from the irrelevant. Like children, the elderly have stories to tell. But what they share is not a fantasy, is the history of life. Their narrative is soft and calm, and what they disclose is what was lived, and felt, and tried. They have seen souls being born and lives taken away. They have loved more than words can tell and they have seen more than the mind wanted to know. They have secrets that want to be divulged and they crave for ears willing to listen to what they have to say. And in spite of all they lived, they continue to read, to ask questions, and to marvel at what life is.
My dears, please, never stop learning. Learn from looking at the children while listening to the elderly. Learn from every single person crossing your way. Stay curious and share your impressions. Talk, read, travel. Ask questions and do not limit your knowledge to the one shared and acknowledged in classrooms. Use all your senses to discover. Assimilate and do not forget to share.
We have only this limited lifetime to learn as much as we can. Would not be a pity to let time passing by without discovering something new, along the way, every single day?!
Lots of love,
Sharing Simple Words