Being who you are

Bird Droppings June 10, 2010
Being who we are

As we sit waiting out what may happen with the massive oil well leak in the gulf, with so many issues almost daily in the Middle East and news reports of increasing violence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza I try to think of more positive ventures here at home as the school year ends and summer break draws near. We live in a world of constant harm to others I saw a bumper sticker “Nuke em and take their gas” we are such a humane society. This is not what democracy is about forcing others to think like us it is individuals choosing there own direction not ours and it seems we have lost that in our military industrial power flexing and narrow mindedness.

“Realness is in the facilitator of learning. When the facilitator is a real person, being what she is, entering into a relationship with the learner without presenting a front or a façade, she is much more likely to be effective.” Carl Rodgers

It does not take a great educator and or thinker to know that if we are real people we tend to be more likely believed. After a series of primary elections questions still abound and believability seems to be a key. Yet so often we chose to keep up our façade I look at this paragraph by Dr. Carl Rodgers and can interchange for facilitator the word parent and or friend very easily. While Rodgers is applying to learning it can also be applied to many aspects of life as well.

“Prizing, acceptance, trust. There is another attitude that stands out in those who are successful in facilitating learning… I think of it as prizing the learner, prizing her feelings, her opinions, her person. It is a caring for the learner, but a non-possessive caring. It is an acceptance of this other individual as a separate person, having worth in her own right. It is a basic trust – a belief that this other person is somehow fundamentally trustworthy…” Carl Rodgers

Acceptance is a key word as we walk through life. We have to accept others often without being accepted ourselves. I have found this to be a powerful tool in dealing with people not only in teaching but in walking into a grocery store or corner market. Parents need to see their children and I like the word prize their feelings and opinions or at least listen.

“Empathetic understanding is a further element that establishes a climate for self-initiated experiential learning. When the teacher has the ability to understand the student’s reactions from the inside, has a sensitive awareness of the way the process of education and learning seems to the student, then again the likelihood of significant learning is increased….” Carl Rodgers

Many the time, I have offered empathy as a key to success in any field of endeavor. In teaching it is crucial, in parenting equally as well and in friendship paramount to building and maintaining continued friendships. So there you have it realness, trust and empathy the three simple key aspects of life and building blocks for relationships that last a week and or a lifetime. In my research I also found Dr. Carl Rodgers was considered the father of humanistic psychology.

“It may include an exchange of ideas, skills, attitudes or values, or even the exchange of things – money, tools or food. Relationships ‘happen’ at all times, in all places, in all parts of society, and in all phases of the development of individuals. We are involved in relationships all the time.” George Goetschius and Joan Tash

We are social animals by nature and seem to do best in social settings. We tend to want to be in groups or with others and in having these relationships as Goetschius and Tash state. If we approach our interactions in a positive light they tend to go farther and be more meaningful and then also act as building blocks to continue and or establish additional relationships.

“Humans have social instincts. They come into the world equipped with predispositions to learn how to cooperate, to discriminate the trustworthy from the treacherous, to commit themselves to be trustworthy, to earn good reputations, to exchange goods and information, and to divide labor…” Matt Ridley, The Origins of virtue

It has been several years since I set up a theory on the development of trust. In this idea of trust I stated humans come into the world with a certain capacity to trust instinctually and that we learn and acquire distrust. So in effect we lose our trust only to regain as we develop. All of this comes in stages as we go through life.

“The fundamental purpose of the relationship lies in the fostering of learning in the group or the individual…” Felix P. Biestek, The Casework Relationship

We move beyond where we are at the moment. As a teacher the students learn, as a parent our children learn and in our friends learning occurs. So often we perceive learning as book related, as school related but learning is an ongoing perpetual project. We learn to walk due to relationships. We are as small children constantly watching others, having others hold on to us as we scoot on our feet and as we are being fed as a baby. Each aspect of life is a learning process.

“The whole of life is learning, therefore education can have no endings.” Eduard Lindeman, The meaning of Adult Education

From the moment we are born till the moment of our leaving this earthly plain we are about learning. I am always drawn to the idea of Henry David Thoreau giving up teaching to be a learner and I wish more parents, teachers and friends should do this in our lives. Become an active learner in order to teach others and in being honest with ourselves we can move on in life. So many news stories from damage along the coast to continued bombing and destruction in the middles east so as always keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.

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