Why do so many colleges exist? Does our nation truly contain such an extensive number of eager learners who wish to dedicate four years of their lives to study?
Complaints over reading assignments and groaning over required papers cause me to think otherwise. I observe the parties and intense social hierarchies that abound throughout campus, making it appear more like a prolonged, inebriated vacation under the guise of academic pursuit.
We do not want to engage our minds. We want the easy answers that someone else developed. We want to memorize and regurgitate. We want the multiple-choice test, not the ambiguous essay response.
And we can have this. We can graduate high school and college without ever really learning. We can survive. But perhaps there is more. Perhaps we can struggle and question and endeavor. Perhaps we can think.
Yet thinking is hard, and learning is terrifying in the most beautiful way.
We may learn the uncontainable bigness of the world. Its potential dangers and infinite possibilities of beauty most certainly threaten to exceed our confined expectations.
In ancient times, young Jewish boys went to the synagogues and began to study the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament) at six years old. By the end of their education, they had memorized it in its entirety. These adolescent competitors begged their teachers (rabbis) to allow them the privilege of reading the texts aloud. They associated learning with something sacred and beautiful. It was desirable and sweet, like the honey the teachers placed on their fingers to remind them of the allure of God.
In these schools of learning, the children strived to not only know the answers to the questions, but to know intimately the questions themselves. The rabbi would ask, “What is two plus two?”
In response the student would ask, “What is 16 divided by four?” Or, “What is three plus one?” To answer with these advanced responses, one must launch the brain into logical progressions.
Jesus taught in the same way. He answered a question with a question. Frustration ensued for his followers. If he had provided just an answer, something would have escaped in the process: the lessons of the process itself.
We are supposed to grapple, struggle and discern. Perhaps the questions baffle us because they have no answer. Perhaps the answer is multiple questions away from the original. The learning lies in the journey. Will you learn?
Why do we resist learning?
How can we develop a desire to grow?
How do we learn the best lessons?
© 2006 Revolworks.com