I think there is an inherent danger in assuming that learning is a one way road.
Students learn from teachers. New hires learn from veteran employees. Children learn from their parents.
The young learn from old. Inexperience learns from experience.
Learning is passed down, not back up.
Family structures are one the most common places this little crime is committed.
We, parents, know it all: the right way to cook eggs, how to drive, how to handle ‘young love’, the proper way to fold clothes. You name it, we’ve been there and we know how it’s done.
But, is there really only one way to do it all? Do our experiences dictate how all future experiences will and should roll out? And, is it so that we should continue doing things the way we’ve been doing them since we learned to do them?
It’s not that any one side of the see saw is wrong, per say. It’s more that if we do it right, we’re all evolving together. We’re all learning from one another, figuring out how to use everyone’s experiences and brain power and creativity to come up with a better way.
I intentionally avoid calling it the best way, though, because that would imply that there is a best way…one, ultimately supreme way that we can permanently stamp as “the” way.
The whole concept of the best anything is even so overwhelming that it can often be immobilizing. Setting out to find the best anything makes it hard to start a process, to ever feel like you’re making any ground, and really, really hard to save room in your brain for potentially better ways of doing things.
There are potential better ways of doing everything: getting around town faster, folding fitted sheets, making a cup of coffee, lifting a barbell off the ground, stacking firewood, putting your hair up, getting through to your 14 year old, confronting your babysitter about how messy she leaves at the end of her shift, dealing with your own parents, and getting the athletes in your class to pay attention.
I hope I never get so complacent and stiff that I am not willing to seek out ideas from 4 & 6 year olds, or able to comprehend that a 14 year old boy may respond better to my advice if I could just find a better “delivery” method, or open-minded enough to listen to one of my children’s criticism of my lifestyle habits.
And, I hope I always remember that just because I’m older, does not mean I know more.