The Willingness To Learn


“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” ― Albert Einstein

It’s said that we old folks don’t learn as quickly as young kids.  Our brains are pretty firmly wired, it’s said, while kid brains are just gathering steam when it comes to wiring.  Whether that’s true or not is above my pay grade.

What I do know is that a kid’s willingness to learn, and to be thrilled by the activity, is boundless.  Watch any kid learning to walk.  How many adults in the same situation, after having fallen a gazillion times without moving three feet, would say “It’s too hard” and sat down on the floor, asking for the TV remote.

I’m writing this because I just witnessed the cutest example of a child’s joy from learning.  A tiny tot, probably no more than a couple years old, was walking along the sidewalk.  She proudly made her way along, expending a great deal of energy to maintain her position ahead of mom.  You could tell she was working hard.  Heck, her poor legs were soooo short.

She got to a place where the sidewalk had been cracked and lifted by a large tree root.  Her side of the sidewalk was three to four inches below where she needed to go.  Undaunted, she carefully put her left foot on the higher level and stepped up to the higher level.  Then she stopped.  I guess she was thinking because the next thing she did was jump.

That’s right.  Standing in place she just jumped up, coming down in exactly the same place.  She took a step and jumped again.  Another second of pause and this time, apparently realizing she needed to do something more than just jump upward, she took a step and leaped up and forward.  When she came down she immediately looked up at her mother with a big smile on her face.  Next time she’d be ready for the cracks in the road.  She needed no class, no teacher.  All she needed was desire and a bit of persistence.

I think this is how we learn art, or should.  We’ve got to jump, then jump again.  Are you jumping?