I think it was Socrates who said that you cannot teach someone something they don’t already know (but I am too lazy to actually research and verify that citation).
When I first heard that, it made absolutely no freaking sense to me, especially since I am a teacher by profession – WTF do you mean you can’t teach somebody something new? It’s what I do day in and day out, each and every year for the last twenty-something years!! However, the older I have grown, the more this makes perfect sense as I realize that I am not teaching, I am guiding and giving people a chance to acquire their own knowledge, albeit by designing learning experiences tailored to help them do just that: learn something, or rather “discover” or “realize” something they really already knew, but were not aware that they knew. Sound complicated? It’s not, really, especially when you consider how Socrates taught his students.
His method bears his name, and is called the Socratic method (duh). It consists of asking your student questions, and devising new questions, based on their answers, to inspire them to think more deeply about the subject under discussion, and come to both broader and deeper understandings about the topic (whatever it is). It is a guiding sort of method, similar to my learning activities in class. I devise the learning experience, and you learn things in the process of completing the activity: teaching yourself, as it were. I am there as a resource in case you get stuck.
Well, I had one of those realizations this week – a realization of something I already knew, but had not actually clued in to. Sort of like gravity – we all understand about gravity from its effects, but Isaac Newton got the credit for realizing that gravity was a LAW in operation that is not ever broken on this planet. He did not discover it, he realized it. Well – I realized something sort of like that, only it is not nearly so universal as gravity. Or, maybe it is…..
I will be fifty three years old in two months (to the day). It dawned on me that very few people, statistically, will live to see the age of 107. This indicates fairly strongly that I have already lived the majority of my allotted life span, and am on the slippery slope of the downhill side of life. Damn. Face-to-face with mortality.
Well. It is not as though I have totally ignored this issue. I already possess a burial plot, already paid for. Morbid, huh? I could actually go and visit it, if I so chose (I don’t so choose). Trying to be fair, it is not the spot beside my first husband’s burial site, since I actually do plan to spend more time with husband number two than I did with husband number one. As least, as far as such plans go….I could shuffle off tomorrow – you just don’t know about such things, now, do you?
Anyhoo, realizing that I have less time left that I have already enjoyed (probably, anyway) was actually rather liberating. The phrase “life is too short” just took on new meaning and significance for me. I no longer feel compelled to do something, or to put up with something, just because it is expected of me, or because I “am supposed to.” I am not obligated to waste any of the time I have left on pleasing somebody else (who I probably don’t value too highly in the first place). Time’s a wasting, people – get out of the way, or be run over (or at the very least, by-passed).
I am headed out to work on my personal bucket list!