I don’t sleep any more. Something has happened as I have hit middle age and what I never could understand (people getting up at the crack of dawn to sit quietly or read the paper), I now understand. I feel the need to get out of bed, grab my computer, turn on a fire and start to write about something I have learned in the last day or so.
I was never what one would consider an academic sort of person. I went to school because I had to. I don’t have any of those great memories of the one teacher who made a difference for me…it all was pretty much the same because going to school and learning in a classroom was what I considered a chore, pure and simple…
Now as I am rapidly creeping into my mid- 50’s, I find that I cannot learn enough. My mind is always seeking answers (like checking out a new word on my Look Up feature on my Nook), or reflecting on what I learned about myself or through others… then it dawned on me…I have always been an avid learner since the time I was a little girl.
I used to sit outside and watch the Box Elder bugs climbing up and down our stucco sided house, watching them, hold them, checking out their coloring, wondering what their purpose was…I did the same with ants…and butterflies…and caterpillars. I was curious about nature, lying on my stomach in our yard at eye level with the grass, checking out how all the small creatures went about their business and trying to understand how they lived.
On rainy days, my family read. My dad would be sitting in his chair reading the Reader’s Digest. My mother would be sitting on one end of the sofa reading a novel. My brother Mike would have his head buried in the Hardy Boys as I was intent on solving the mysteries with Nancy Drew. We did not turn on the small black and white TV in our living room on those rainy days. We all were lost in our own worlds and adventures that we found through the written word. Yes…I was always an avid learner and I just didn’t know it.
Today I am learning in much the same way as I did when I was a child. I watch and I listen, trying to understand human nature and why we do as we do. My classroom is no longer that front yard where I use to lie on my belly…it is larger and more varied. It is my workplace…it is my home…it is my community…it is my heart.
Leaders should always be learners. They should be curious in the world that surrounds them. Trying to understand what makes a community of people work together well, understanding the purpose that draws them all together. Leaders should not forget how to have the inquisitiveness of a child…to get down to eye level to watch and learn…