Saturday, May 31, 2008

Being open to learning

On the plane ride home from my recent trip, a woman with a child about one year old was sitting behind me. The little girl periodically kicked my chair, which brought up many memories of my own chair kicking days. Many roadtrips, over many years.

Looking back, it's amazing to me that the idea that kicking a chair might bother anyone took so long to sink in. The fact that my parents complained when I kicked their chair didn't make sense to me; I think I was around ten before it registered that they could actually feel it when I kicked their chair.

I tend to think of the 'normal' way of learning as being exposed to new concepts, or concepts presented in a novel way. That sometimes I learn things by just seeing familiar things (like parents' complaints) in a different way (such as, they might actually be bothered by what they were complaining about) feels very strange every time. Often I think the Christian concept of the Holy Spirit is a useful way to relate these kinds of experiences.

Unfortunately, it seems to be easy to shut out that kind of learning, becoming very attached to a particular way of thinking. It was nice to have that little girl remind me to be open to that kind of new understanding. The happy baby noises she made for much of the trip were wonderful, too.

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