Lifelong Learning: What I’ve Learned – January 2017

It’s hard to believe that January 2017 has come and gone so quickly.  Looking back, I feel as though I’ve barely had time to get used to the idea that 2016 has finally ended and it is in fact a new year,  and now I have to reflect on the month and try to determine what I’ve learned.

1 – One of my goals for 2017 is to explore spirituality.  I was raised Christian and have attended both Baptist and Methodist churches, but it was a very sheltered existence.  I didn’t even know anyone who was Catholic until I was in college.  I had the required World Cultures class in high school where we learned about different religions, but I feel a need to explore beyond that.  As I was thinking about 2017 and my goals, I stumbled across Susannah Conway’s website.  She suggests using tarot cards as reflective writing prompts which intrigued me.  I’ve never explored tarot; in fact, I’ve been terrified of tarot in the past.  I was always afraid I would get the death card as portrayed in so many movies.  So I bought this deck and have discovered that they aren’t the least bit scary and even seem to be designed to boost one’s self-esteem.  I have chosen a different card each day and use it as a reflective writing prompt.  During these reflective sessions, I have thought about people and events that I haven’t considered in many, many years.  And, I haven’t seen one negative card yet!

2 – For our INRW classes, we do an icebreaker activity the first day to introduce the students to one another.  This semester we asked them to share one interesting fact, what they want to be when they grow up, one thing they are confident about, and one thing that scares them.  I learned several things from this activity.  First, our students have seen and done a lot of interesting things!  Most of them are quite confident about doing well in college and their classes as well as in meeting their goals.  However, these same students are also afraid of failing.  This was eye-opening for me as I didn’t expect the students to be both confident and afraid to fail at the same time.  However, it does make sense if these students have a fixed mindset.  If they believe they are smart enough to succeed, but they don’t realize how much work is involved, they may indeed fear failing.

3 – I judge books by their covers even if we aren’t supposed to do so.  I recently bought Tiny Buddha based strictly on the title alone without reading anything about it.  I thought it would be bite-sized pieces of Buddhism philosophy that I could easily digest in short, quick snippets.  I was wrong.  I was entirely snookered by the title.  I’ve often prided myself on my open-mindedness and by not judging people by their appearances, but now I wonder how many times I’ve prejudged someone and were then left feeling as though I had been deceived based merely on my own suppositions.

But enough about me and what I’ve learned this month.  What are some things you have learned so far this year?

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