Grasshoppers and Growth

Learning is not an age issue. It is a growth issue.

My professor made this statement in class the other day. We have a lot of people specializing and working in gerontology in the class. He was talking about how sometimes we assume as people grow older, they stop learning. His comment was off the cuff and we moved on quickly, but it has bounced around my brain all week.

I am constantly fascinated by my 3-year-old’s desire to learn. Everything is fascinating to him. Seeing a grasshopper is something to be celebrated and remembered all week.

He has no idea what it means, but he constantly asks, “What time is it?”

He asks brilliant questions and wants to know how everything works.

This not only makes the world fascinating to him, but it does the same for me.

When I see a neon grasshopper I run to get him. I am constantly looking for times when I can explain things to him. I get excited to explain new things or discover with him how something works.

Sometimes, we get so used to the same old things, we need a reminder of all the places in the world ripe with wonder.

A child’s perspective makes the world refreshing, beautiful, and awe-inspiring.

But often this sense of wonder and desire to learn and discover slowly corrodes over time. As I am studying adult education, one of the main impediments to teaching adults is that adults think they have it all figured out. They have seen it all. They have decided where they stand on something and are unwilling to revisit it. This inhibits learning because you cannot learn anything new if you think there is nothing new to learn.

But it is not an age issue, it is a growth issue. It is an unwillingness to approach the world with a child-like sense of awe and wonder.

As Rob Bell says in his new video: It is one thing to have it right. It is another to be overwhelmed.

Maybe we need to approach the world more like a 3-year-old. Maybe the best way to grow is to be like a child.

But this requires something of us. Being like a child requires work for an adult. It means we have to live in the world like we DON’T have all the answers. It means we have to doubt the things we hold dear. It means we have to question and revisit some of the things we believe so strongly.

It means we have to hold on to the things we know very loosely.

But when we do, we see the beauty and grace and love hidden in the seemingly ordinary moments of life. And we begin to see a God who is so much bigger than the boxes we put him in.

Where are you growing? What creates a sense of child-like wonder in you?

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