Human Growth: A Simple Process

Since the fall of man, God has used mystery to draw people to himself. Every conflict or failure is a chance to either move toward him, or away. I think few find this to be a fun way to learn, though I I learn the most when my curiosity is piqued with wonder. These are the times when the easy answer is the wrong answer. When faced with uncomfortable circumstances the progressive learner didn’t ask why. Instead he looked around, reflected, and considered the path of humble inquiry. Socrates had this figured out a long time ago when he said something like, the more I know the more I don’t know.

Eureka! The power of knowing how we learn   

We’ve been designed to learn, develop, and grow in every way: socially, physically, emotionally, and intellectually. I feel like our culture is beginning to grasp how we learn. Smart people are revealing ideas like “The Growth Mindset” and “Event + Response = Outcome”. The growth mindset is the idea that dedication and working through struggles is critical to growth, and talent is just a starting point. It’s obvious to me now that it wasn’t Carol Dweck who came up with this mindset theory, but this is the perspective God has intended for our life ever since the existence of sin. I mean, he does tell us to consider it pure joy when facing trials because he is developing perseverance and maturity in us through circumstances (James 1:2-4). Could he be more clear about the perspective we are to have when given the chance to learn? Don’t avoidingly sidestep anything because anxiety, worry, and fear cripple our ability to learn.

Our time on Earth has been designed to be filled with purposeful conflicts and problems so I suppose we should teach our children how to deal with those problems. After all we’re to “Train up a child in the way he should go,” (Proverbs 22:6).  Our response to those issues determines how we grow. In this place there is a growing sense of entitlement. Many hold the perspective that the events that happen to them are controllable. The myth of “Because of who I am, bad things can’t happen to me” is a very dangerous stance. Look at the story of Job and imagine if his response to problems was from a point of entitlement!

Entitlement is just our Earthly desires on display. One of the most unattractive attributes is a puffed out chest filled with pompous disposition. This is grown from a complete misunderstanding of the truths and reality of our life. Thank God for his pure plan, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 8:28

It’s a battle we all fight, everyday.

Tools for Learning

Sorry to break it to you, but please consider this news with pure joy! When we need to develop in an area, we are given conflict. Yes, we are asked to embrace the struggle, hurt, grief, and frustration that comes with conflict. I think a great example of this is marriage. The first couple years of my marriage was littered with purposed conflict. We worked in it and responded to it and it made all the different. I must say, I tried to avoid it but thankfully my wife is much smarter than me and she helped me realize the process of growth takes effort and intention. Or if you’d prefer a much different example, let’s look at Lebron. The greatest basketball player on the earth has conflict too. Other teams got smart and decided to double team him or punish him with fouls every time he got close to the basket. So Lebron didn’t just continue to practice. He knew if he wanted to enjoy a long successful career he had to work on an alternative to going to the basket and getting beat up. He developed his outside shot and is now even more difficult to guard. (I love sports analogies and have a baseball one that applies as well, but I’ll spare you the boredom).

So you see you will not go through life unscathed, if you claim to, you’re an infant in every way.

I find Isaiah 43:19 very encouraging. “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

The path of development is filled with challenging elements. Each element has been divinely designed.

 

May you take joy in your wilderness or desert

 

The Way We’re Made to Learn

“Are we there yet? Are we there yet? How about now?” Curiosity can be annoying sometimes. Especially when it is the persistent kind. Don’t worry parents and teachers,  it’s been documented that we, as humans ask less and less questions as we age. On the surface this might sound relieving to the exhausted caretaker, but I actually find it quite concerning. I’d much rather be surrounded by learners who question and search for truth, rather than ones who just want to know they’re right. Unfortunately I’ve witnessed education that has produced the latter.


We label children as being naive and ignorant when really the adults are the ones too busy with the mundane to engage with what matters, resulting in a harmful ignorance. So often today I find people are fighting to be heard (myself included), instead of a people who first: engage, explore, research, and consider.


I see a shift in our curiosity as we age. Children ask questions and explore based on genuine personal interest. As adults our curiosity is driven based on a motive to be right, and to build support for our predetermined position. When does such a shift happen? What are we doing to cause this? 

Why don’t we follow the development methods God has used in reaching His people spiritually. He speaks to us using a personal authentic experience, our inquiry, and then application of what has been learned. Obviously God knows how His creation learns best, so why don’t we use this same model in our academic process.

Why would God choose to leave us with such wonder and mystery, not only about this world but also about who He is? I think he desires His learners to have a healthy practice of wrestling in wonder and deeply exploring curiosities that result in perspective, overarching respect, and of course wisdom. I look to C.S. Lewis as being a fantastic model of this, and boy did he land on those three resulting characteristics.  

So teach them to explore and to be curious. Let’s be quick to question, thorough in seeking, and slow in concluding. For if our kids can maintain and engage their curiosity over time they’ll be equipped for a life full of learning. When God draws their attention to Himself, these learners, filled with curiosity, will not dismiss it or misinterpret the encounter. They will engage, seek, and discover who He is. I this this concept of inquiry learning closely relates to “God’s Vision for the Classroom” (a past post).

Imagine how better prepared our kids would be if we didn’t just quickly give them an answer loaded with bias, but took the time to wonder, inquire, and discover along side them. This world would be relieved of much hate and ignorance.

What do you wonder about? Engage your wonder. You will not be disappointed!


Ryan Hershey see my blog at
www.faithandeducationcollide.blogspot.com