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Knowledge, Experience, and Reasoning = Wisdom

rp_2269499855_31a018a8f6_m.jpgKnowledge and experience, combined with reasoning equal wisdom.

As much as we would sometimes like to, rotely learning material does not automatically generate people who can use the material.  Rote learning is good for learning things  that we must be able to recall quickly and what is learned rotely is different from person to person depending on what they do and what kind of information they need to have on hand.  A simple example is memorizing words and their meanings to give a person a good vocabulary that they will use every day.  This is true of what we call knowledge.

A person does a lot of learning when they are still little.  They generate theories with resulting hypotheses that they test out probably before they can talk.  Most adults reason with words, but children start learning how things work before they can talk.  I am sure science will find out just how this is done with or without words someday or may be studying it even now.

They also learn usually through rewards and punishments what ideas that they have about things work or don’t work.  Even animals learn this way although we used to think that animals had inborn instincts that determined what they would do or not do.  Instincts are definitely inborn probably because most animals have to be able to do some things for themselves at birth.rp_360159124_150_150.jpg

Everyone is an individual even before birth.  Their inborn DNA determines many of the strengths and weaknesses they might have.  Thus no child is exactly like one of their parents.  The problem is that sometimes one of the parents wants a child to do what they like to do; but the child was not born with the same abilities, the same brain, and/or bodies.  Thus such a desire can be doomed to failure and the child may receive the blame for not being able or wanting to do what the parent would like the child to do.  The child then often grows up to feel worthless in their parent’s eyes and to fail to develop as his or her individual self.

For example, my mother was the youngest of two girls (no boys) and while her older sister got to help with chores in the house, her father expected her to help him outside at the farm.  He wasn’t unreasonable but she was afraid of horses and while she was young everything was still done with horses.

Children are thinking and reasoning and planning for themselves long before their parents even know it.  Children can recognize different tones of voice, and facial expressions and body postures and how people react to determine if it is safe to do or not do something.  Sometimes the parents may say one thing and mean another.  How about telling a child to go give someone a kiss when the child can tell that either that person does not like them or their parent does not like the person.  Double bind?  Say one thing and do another?rp_3476636111_c551295ca4_m.jpg

We can learn not only from our own experiences we can also learn from other people’s experiences.  But sometimes other peoples conclusions or theories from these experiences may not fit into our understanding of things.  Eventually most parents want children to think for themselves and to be able to make good decisions so they can be independent  (parents usually die before children) and require less and less supervision.

Ultimately children should be able to think for themselves and to be able to evaluate what they have learned and experienced and change their bodies of knowledge some learned through the experiences of others and their theories about how the world works to fit new information.  Sometimes the information instead is changed or rejected because it doesn’t fit their theory.

Wisdom comes with time and having learned to be able to think for oneself as you have accumulated knowledge and experience.   Strange or new information can be frightening and it might be easier to reject it, but the cost, in the long run, is greater than if the person had worked it through even if it was scary or painful to do so.  Many people do this with physical problems and sometimes if they do do something, it can be too late.  Yes, we all have the right to make mistakes and sometimes we can learn from them; but fear of change or possible consequences can keep us from even trying to do  it.

Have you been brainwashed as a child?

Have you been brainwashed as a child?

Colleges and universities used to be places where you could learn new things and try new ideas out.  It was supposed to be a safe place where things could be discussed freely and new ideas often tried out safely.  Professors could have different ideas about the way things should be; but there was open debate encouraged in classes.  Yes, you may have been expected to learn certain things especially in certain areas of work or professions because you were expected to know these tings to graduate and go on in your field or the college was not doing the job they were getting paid for.

Wisdom is usually obtained over time and there are things that are not learned through study or only by experiences in universities or medical or law schools.  Wisdom is also flavored by individuality and people’s individual tastes.  It never hurts to try something even though you think you might not like it.  I have had experiences that I might not been completely ready for that gave me strengths that I might not have been able to develop any other way.rp_300px-Little_girl_drawing_with_blue_pencil.jpg

You are never ready to do anything, but at some point you have to go ahead and do it because the time when you are completely ready might never come.  Wisdom truly comes from these experiences. I didn’t truly understand grief until my best friend, her unborn child, and her young daughter were killed in a traffic accident.

I may be older than you; but I might be wiser than you in many ways that is one of the reasons I write this blog.  Do I expect you to believe or learn from everything I write, no.  But it might it expose you to some information that would spur you to do or think differently in a way that would benefit you.

I also am a teacher and I have learned that students are all different especially in terms of the knowledge and experiences they come into class with.  They are also different in terms of their mindsets about learning.  This is especially true when it comes grade time.

Think for yourself.  Evaluate what you have learned just don’t accept something without thinking about it or testing it  if possible in real life.  There is a reason that all science classes includes laboratory sessions so the students can have experiences that they can relate to the material being presented in lectures.  This called critical thinking and it is something dictators don’t want people to do.

Theresa Caputo–The Truth And Nothing But The Truth

Theresa Caputo, The Long Island Medium

Theresa Caputo, The Long Island Medium

Theresa Caputo  (the Long Island Medium) is not a phony.  She is very real.  And why is she so real?  She tells the truth and nothing but the truth.  I went to her presentation at a local center (Ford Center in Evansville IN) with two friends,  We were also mesmerized by her presence and the type of audience her presentation attracted.

We got to see the real her: longer hair, a bright blue attractive dress, and sparkly heels.  (I wondered how she negotiated moving around on the floor in them?).  She told us exactly what she would do and not do and how she utilized her fan club.  She was very honest and straight forward and I hung on her every word which I could do because cameras (only used for the presentation and then erased) and microphones followed her around and we could see her facial expressions and the reactions of those that she read.

Spirit seemed to pick the most urgent cases.  Those which would have left the theater in a turmoil with no feelings re leaved from a sudden tragic death or deaths and guilt not resolved.  Although, I did not receive a reading,  I got some insight into deaths I have suffered and about my own metaphysical gifts.

She is what she is.  She is not fake and even excused herself from reading for people who had messages or pictures that could be seen on camera because if she had read these people she might have been be accused of  getting information from these things and not spirit.

It was a very intense situation and she had a very intentive and polite audience.  (Also please note that there were people there some from Ford Center and some from her own staff to help out and they did so without distracting or impeding what was going on. )

Theresa was gracious and even invited two randomly chosen audience members behind stage after the show.   There was no press of people to get her attention and autographs after the show nor were any books sold; but when she was in the auditorium, she moved freely among the members of the audience.

It was obvious to me that she was “on” the entire time and that there was nothing “canned” nor  was there material that was used as  “filler.”  You came to see Theresa and there was no “staff” between her and the audience.  I just had to say, “Thank God.”  She was very honest about her beliefs and the most surprising one was that she believes that there is no hell.

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Stay Involved, Don’t Opt Out

rp_Feelings.jpgSocial interaction is crucial to children learning language.  Watching a video or listening to an auditory version is not enough.  Are children becoming autistic because people in our world are becoming less and less involved?  What about a good old fashioned conversation or a satisfying read?  Being unable to interact with others is a very real problem and I can see the day when children have virtual play dates?  How removed from reality is this?  Will we all sit home and rely on clouds and the internet to keep us in touch?  Will the ethers be doing our talking?  It will no longer be necessary to read or write as computers will communicate for us just by talking and ultimately will thoughts and images not words be used to share ideas?

 rp_2269499855_31a018a8f6_m.jpg This just started out as a blog about how children need human contact to learn and ultimately to thrive.  Scarey isn’t it?  For example, someday people will not sign their names, not just because they did not learn cursive writing; but because reading and writing are no longer considered necessary.  We have done this since the dawn of the machine age and eliminating the human factor in creating things that we need and use.  Is it possible we are also eliminating the good vibrations that many skilled, dedicated craftsmen and craftswomen put into their work.

Flowers Versus Weeds. How Were You Raised? What Are You Raising?

rp_8150559597_f6b72c73b6_m.jpgIt all depends on your point of view.
The problem is that in your garden you may have been taught to see certain plants as weeds and which should be “weeded” out and others as flowers which should be cultivated.  Many people when they plant their gardens expect to get flowers but the truth is that when you plant a seed, you may get not get what you expected which is someone like you and you don’t know how to cultivate them.  How do you handle this mystery seed as a disappointment or as a wonderful new discovery  if you got what you were hoping for.  Why take it out on the plant, because you have to learn new cultivating  techniques and, for example, provide different amounts of water, different amounts of sunshine or shade, and different kinds and amounts of plant food as well as protection from different types of insect infestation.  Some require  more space than others or grow taller and block the sun getting to other plants and/or your view of them.  You can look on this as a pleasant surprise or as a serious disappointment and/or you might learn new things about growing different “plants”.

rp_300px-Drill.jpgThe famous Kennedy family had their developmentally disabled daughter unsuccessfully operated on to deal with her unconventional behavior and then institutionalized her because they couldn’t cope with her unfortunate behavior changes after surgery and her perceived inability to benefit (they thought) no longer from family life with the other children.  Could she who was seen as an unfortunate weed that needed to be changed been raised successfully (at least for her if not for them) in the in the Kennedy family compound? They felt that they couldn’t cope with her behavior and poor ability to comprehend and benefit from what was going on around her.  It was an unfortunate decision and at the time, they didn’t know that the operation would not help her, but injury her further.

Did you get what you individually needed to grow and flourish as the flower that you actually  were or were you treated unfortunately as an unwanted weed? Also what were your parents considered to be by their parents, teachers, and even peers?  Flowers or weeds? and how were they raised? you-are-exactly-who-you-are-suppose-to-beTaking account of the differences as well as the similarities is important in raising your own off spring or the children you have contact with, students, nieces and nephews,  etc. .  Consider such happenings  as a pleasant  surprise and  as a splendid way to learn new things and see life from a different point of view and not as dealing with an unwanted pest and, at best, as at least an inconvenience to have such a child and set them the child up for the rest of his or her life to be seen as a failure or to be at the least second best when compared with a sibling or or siblings who might more meet your expectations and fit your style of dealing with life itself.

Out With The Old, In With The New Or Is It In With The Old Out With The New?

There are a lot of articles about decluttering your house, your apartment, your dorm room or your room at home.  How about decluttering your life or better yet your mind!  How long do we hang on to old ideas like old clothes, old newspapers, or worn out shoes?   We haven’t used them in the last few years or we haven’t reevaluated them recently to see if they still serve their purpose or reflect who we are.  Have you ever noticed a woman or a man who hasn’t changed their style of dressing and/or hair style since they were much younger?  It may not suit them anymore but they continue to wear them.

Now Is The Time That....

Now Is The Time That….

When we are younger, we learn rapidly and may change our minds just as fast.  Have we changed who influences us and/or what we believe? even if we have found evidence or had experiences to the contrary?  Sometimes we are even proud of this.  Yes, if it still makes sense continue to believe it.  Or do you not change your opinions or the way you practice your beliefs because of stubborness and/ or pride.  Or are you afraid that someone will find you to be easy to be led by the ring in your nose? or just plain wishywashy?  Who controls your life?  Is that what you really want?

Who controls your life?  good?  or evil?  How comfortable are you about the decisions you have made?  Are you afraid of losing your identity. of not knowing who you are any more if you realize that rp_KUWtK_titlecard.pngyou need to reconsider some of the decisions  you have made about yourself and your life.  Remember what works for one person may not work for another and you may be unhappy if you follow the crowd and continue to judge yourself by what you think that the crowd thinks is important.  Anthropology is the study of different cultures in different lands and it might surprise some people if they study anthropology that different people find different things and different behaviors necessary to be considered civilized or attractive.  In our society, consider Kim Kardashian’s  posterior anatomy which some men find very enticing.

This is especially true if a person is raised to follow some standard because of what other people might think.  This is as true of teenaged gang members as it is or was of teenagers in Beverly Hills.  Isn’t it amazing that sometimes someone will do something or wear something that is very original that will start a new trend that then it seems like everyone now has to admire and/or follow?  I was raised that way and I wondered why everybody was more important than me.  Such a thing detracts from one’s self-worth.

rp_1360757052_a551272cf9_m.jpg

There is room for a lot of different beliefs in the world if one believes in freedom.  Why do some people think that they have to destroy or convert (often by threat of death) anyone who does not believe as they do?  Diversity can be a good thing.  It is often a good thing if most people like different things and activities.  If their were no people who liked to cook how would we get something to eat?  What makes one occupation better than another?  Who would fix our toilets or collect our trash?  Is an airplane pilot more skilled than an airplane mechanic.
When my brother was in the U.S. Air Force, he told me that in the Canadian Air Force that pilots were sergeants and mechanics were lieutenants just the opposite of what was true of the U.S.
Air Force.

Another thing to consider is if we should be constantly changing to something new like the new core curriculum in schools?  It appears too complicated for elementary students to grasp or even for adults?  Who is going to help children with their math?  Homework already has been difficult enough for parents to help with.  What happened to common sense?  What happened to the freedom of school districts to determine what and how to teach something.  Different teachers have different strengths and can use different approaches to teach the same thing from other teachers or within the classroom with different students.  Why are these choices being made more and more by people who are far removed from the very situation that  they are making the decisions for.  A good leader uses his or her employees’ or supervisees’ knowledge and strengths in order to make decisions.  They also delegate authority when appropriate..

 

Teaching Yourself

Saarbrücken, HTW, Mathematics Workshop

Saarbrücken, HTW, Mathematics Workshop (Photo credit: flgr)

When I was in school I was expected to learn how to do something and to master this skill on my own.  There was no teacher utilizing a method of instructing in math or reading.   Tutoring and such additional help is common today but was only used then in extreme cases where the student couldn’t master the subject.  If they were given extra help in class, the  rest of the class would fall behind.  Memorization skills  and good handwriting were expected and competitions were held in these areas with winners and losers.  To the gifted student, it was motivating and now we know it created  brains filled with much knowledge and good problem solving skills.

Such students still exist.  My son and I both figure out how to do math problems on our own.  I never was very good at helping with the “new” math homework when my kids were in school.  Surprisingly I took advanced math classes in high school and did well; but calculus was never offered.  I never did master calculus but I memorized derivations in graduate school when calculus was used in statistics class.

Computer Basics Class

Computer Basics Class (Photo credit: taylor library)

When methods are used to teach math, they often do not “click” with every student.  This is like with using the computer.  You need often to figure it out for yourself and when someone else teaches you, they teach you their way which may or may not work for you.  Everyone’s wiring is different and what works for one person may not work for another person.  There are many different ways to do things on the computer and how something is done in one program may not be the way something is done in another.  Frequently programs on the computer assume that you will already know something and skip explaining this step.  If you already know how some things are ordinarily done on the computer, you may be able to almost automatically fill in the missing step while a novice won’t be able to do this.

Assuming that somebody knows something or knows how to do something may make somebody look like an “ass” whether it is you or the other person depends on who determines the winner of the argument you or the other person.  I frequently find this a problem with men who feel that if you can’t convince them of something that you are automatically wrong.  Who determines the winner is the problem here.  As a result, I refuse to participate in such arguments.

 

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The Importance Of Problem Solving!

To learn and not to do is really not to learn....

To learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know. (Photo credit: planeta)

This post is finished.  I am done with the revising and editing; but I wanted to put it up early so a class I am teaching could use it to learn something about critical thinking.

Cognitive development continues in adult life and some of the crucial elements are the individual’s creative and learned abilities to solve problems.  Do it “My way; but nicely” as a musical comedy (The King and I) song says is the way many parents and supervisors lead.  Could it be that the problem-solving skills of these individuals are also underdeveloped not just those of their children or their supervisees?  A good work relationship requires an able boss and a good employee, an able parent and a child with undeveloped potential, an able teacher and a willing student.  In all of these equations, both the leaders and those being led have to participate and make contributions.

How do we help this along?  It is by not letting an “I can’t do this” attitude from hindering a person’s development.  Learning does not stop at 16, 21, or 35.  It goes on for a lifetime.  I realize that I have, when confronted with a barrier or an obstacle, have not taken the time necessary.   I just want to get on with it so I continue on with that detail not attended to and also on depending on someone else to do what I have not learned to do for myself and not bothering to problem solve and master what may be a new skill for me.

Obstacles and barracades are opportunities to grow and learn and to acquire new skills.  How often have you said I can’t when you probably could.  Being constantly dependent on others to do things for us which we can’t or have not learned to do for ourselves can lead to anger both at ourselves and for our helplessness and at others whose whims we see ourselves are susceptible to.

Learning by Doing

Learning by Doing (Photo credit: BrianCSmith)

Take on a new project.  Find one thing that you have not learned how to do for yourself and master it.  My spouse recently showed me for the nth time how to call up a missed number on the phone.  I had always depended on him to do it for me and if he wasn’t there I could get mad at myself for not knowing how to do it and at him for being in control of my life that way by not being able to return a simple phone call without him.

Now I have a growing list of things I should be able to do for myself which demands I usually met in the past with a feeble, “I can’t…”  Sometimes it is not easy; but, when mastered, these things give you more freedom to do it your way, not theirs.  Learning involves communication between pupil and teacher.  The student needs to build on what they already know in order to bridge the gap between themselves and teachers.  It is this communality that fosters learning.  The attitude, “This is so stupid.  Why can’t he learn this”, is often an example of the teacher’s tendency to give up and externalize the blame onto the student.

Finally, once you’ve solved the problem, remember to use what you have learned the next time you have that problem.  Remember practice makes perfect.  What you learn for yourself is often the best learning method.  You don’t leave any steps out or forget to define terms.  Focusing on the neuroplacity of the brain means that we can go on learning the rest of our lives.  It increases self-esteem,  it develops abilities you may be able to teach others as a legacy, it enlarges your sphere of life (now no more saying to yourself limiting yourself by saying, ” I won’t go there because I can’t do that and I am not willing to learn”.

Remember you sometimes can chose what you want to learn to do but you can’t always control others so that they will do things for you when you don’t know how.

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Integrated Learning

English: Graduate School

English: Graduate School (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There needs to be a foundation of past learning on which to build new learning.  The better a person can relate to a new subject, the more likely, he or she will understand and retain the new learning.  One gift of a teacher is that he or she can find ways to connect past learning in his or her students to new learning.  Not only do teachers need the gift of knowledge about a subject that they seek to impart to their students, but also they have to know how to convey that material to their students.

I have had the experience where a professor who was very well known in her field and who had done trail blazing research was unable to pass that knowledge on in a meaningful way to her students.  It was in an advanced graduate course where all the students had been at the top of their class when they graduated from college and were successfully mastering graduate work for their advanced degrees.  She gave a test  and all of the select group of students who were taking her course did not give the answers she expected of them.  In fact, she held the students over so that she could go over the entire test and demonstrate the answers she had expected of them.  What she didn’t know was that the students had regularly been getting together in order to figure out the correct answers to questions that she had raised and thought that she answered in class.  Every lecture she gave was even more confusing than the last.  No wonder her students did not know the answers that she had expected them to give on her test.  She knew her subject, but she could not teach her subject.

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Jack of all Trades

Jack of all trades, master of none?  If you could tell someone what was important to learn in life?  What would you tell them?  Many men are expected to be mechanics and handymen around the house.  Many women are expected to be able to cook, clean, and do the laundry.  With the changing of sex roles, both may soon need to know how to do both types of skills, housewifery,

Skills Like This

Skills Like This (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

and car and house repair. It has now come to the point with the necessity for two income households that both men and women should be able to hold a job.  Don’t forget driving, being able to use a computer, knowing how to use a mobile phone and other electronic devices as necessary skills in this present time..  Most everyone would say parenting is one of the most important skills to learn.  What about relationship skills, how to get along with others, how to communicate well with others, and how to form social relationships such as friendships, and sexual and romantic relationships.  Last, but not least, what also seems important to discover  is what is our relationship to the world, other people, and God (whatever form that takes for you).

What things are taught in schools, what things do parents attempt to teach their children, what things are taught in churches or other religious settings, and what things are people just expected to learn by living life.  Too often, we just let the most important things that we need to know in life go.  Who or what teaches us about these things, strangers on the street, on the web, or on TV?   Often we do not think about things like values and let someone or something else by default teach either us or our children what our values, if any, should be.  Let’s go further what is our purpose in life?  Why are we here? Agnostic, Atheist, Muslim, Christian, Hindu  or Jew , all have answers to this question.  Do you?

 

 

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Dumb Animals?

I guess I was very impressionable when I was in grade school.  It was a christian school and I was thoroughly indoctrinated.  I didn’t know what I believed, but I knew what I was supposed to believe.  Being raised in the church and having the added experience of a religious education, was not totally a bad thing as it was there I learned about values and how to live my life in a way that considered others as well as myself.  It was from this advantage point that I developed my concepts of why we are in this world and what our purpose in life was.  As a result, I am not an atheist.  Unfortunately not everything I learned was helpful.

As I have said in another post, teachers often give their own point of view on the subject that they are teaching and children especially can easily accept their words as law.  Hopefully when they grow up they will find out that some of the things the teacher said did not represent the “gospel truth.”  I did, but not before making a few incorrect conclusions based on these teachings.  One belief I kept for a long time was that animals were dumb, not intelligent like humans, and their behavior was only based on instinct.  Also I thought humans were superior to animals in every way and that there was nothing an animal did that a human couldn’t do better.  I also believed that animals didn’t really deserve a place in God’s kingdom like man did.

When I first studied psychology, I learned that animals were acceptable substitutes for humans in experiments studying the origins and expressions of many behaviors.  Certain animals were more appropriate for use in such experiments than others depending on their similarity to humans. At the time animals were not considered to be intelligent like humans and could be used in ways that could not be used on humans. Recently (or at least since I was a student) we have learned that at least some animals can think (not everything they do is because of instinct) and/or use language which we used to think was reserved for humans. Also animals are special creatures that can do things that humans can’t do or do as well. I strongly suspect that as time goes on, we will find this to be more true rather than less.

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