On Intentional Learning

Do you have educational “goals” for your children? Are there things that you want them to leave your house knowing? I do, and in the realm of education, I filter everything through these long-term goals. The goals are as follows: 1.) I want them to become life-long learners, 2.) I want them to learn to respect themselves and authority, and 3.) I want them to know how to work hard.

My children are in preschool and the first grade - so right now we are focused on the “basics” of learning. However, even now I filter everything through the lens of my long-term goals for them. For example, one of my children’s teachers came to me concerned that my child wasn’t holding their pencil correctly. Honestly, I don’t hold my pencil “correctly” and could give a flying flip about that. What I figure is that most people will do things to “get through school” and then go back to the way they wanted to do it in the first place and are often no worse for the wear because of it. However, what I do care about is that my children respect authority as long as the authority is not asking my children to compromise their well-being. So my child and I work on how to hold their pencil correctly - not because I care about how my child holds a pencil but because it is respectful to my children’s teacher. I believe that learning how to respect an authority's reasonable wishes now, will help them respect their employer's reasonable requests in the future.

The moral of the above example is that if I want my children to do something, I need to do it myself. The one area that I find stretches me more than any other is my desire to teach my children how to be life-long learners.

The truth is we are all learners. We learn about world events through our social media feeds, we learn about pop culture through current music and tv shows, or we learn how to “tidy up our homes” by Netflix binging on a current docuseries. The question is not whether you are a life-long learner, but whether you are intentional about your learning? I guess that is what I want for my children - that they become intentional life-long learners. I don’t want them to learn through osmosis, but I want them to work through what they believe is important and then learn more about that. Once again, the only way they will know how to do that is if my husband and I are intentional learners as well.

Below is my current learning focus. I learn about these things by reading, experiencing, and interviewing.

1.) The homeless crisis - understanding the cause and the anatomy of success stories.

2.) Music theory and how to better play my violin.

3.) Head knowledge that then transforms my heart into being more like Jesus and how to better live out the Sermon on the Mount.

4.) Grammar and the fluid movement of language.

5.) The science behind taste and “good” cooking.

6.) How to be a student of my children and husband (i.e., how to better love them).

7.) Understanding my calling.

Are you an intentional learner? What are you currently learning?