Happy Learning

By : Emma Johnston

I picked my daughter up from school the other day and she was literally bouncing with joy. Her long ponytail bobbed as she skipped from one foot to the next, a giant grin on her face. As we began to walk home, she giggled “guess what mommy?” she asked. I didn’t have to wait for the answer, “we learned how to use a computer today!”
My eight-year-old was beaming as she went on to tell me that today had been the day of all days, the moment she’d been waiting for! She had learned all about computers – how to turn them on and off properly and how to log in and create her own password. She’d practiced Google searches and had learned how to identify between reputable and non-reputable websites. She told me about the typing program she was working on and how they were practicing uploading her work into the school’s online portal. She was overjoyed! The whole way home and all evening until I tucked her in that night, she gleefully told me about computers. She counted her money to see if she had enough to buy her own computer (we have three already in our home, but none that are HERS!) She showed me her typing skills and she gave a good long speech about proper research techniques and the dangers of Wikipedia.
I loved listening to her. I loved her excitement and joy over learning something completely new. I loved how happy she was as she painstakingly typed – one…letter…at…a….time…
This personality trait – “the joy of learning” is one of my absolute favourite traits in other humans. I love seeing people get excited to learn. I love when they tell me their ideas and thoughts and new plans and great ideas. I love when they go through that awkward, messy, complicated part of learning something new, trying, failing, trying again. I love when houses are torn apart because the owners are teaching themselves how to put up drywall, or when workspaces are a mess because someone has taken a course that has stretched them to the limit. I love trying my mother-in-law’s new experiments in the kitchen, I love the joy on my friends’ faces as they show me their renovations or my sister when she’s working on a new artistic piece. I want to soak up the joy and excitement and thrill of learning something new!
My dad’s wife inspires me almost daily with her desire to learn and push herself. Washing machine breaks? She will tear it apart and fix it. Concrete need to be laid? Done! Repainting the cathedral ceiling above a two story staircase – no problem! She just flips on YouTube, figures it out and does it! I love that about her. I love hearing about whatever project she’s working on now. Filleting fish – easy. Sewing an outfit – done! Navigating the auctions and finding antique steals to decorate her home – she doesn’t bat an eye. She’s always learning something new – always pushing herself – always has a great story to tell and some wisdom to share. She asks questions, gets dirty, tries and more often than not, succeeds!
Every person who dives right in head first and starts to learn new things, try new adventures, teach themselves something new – inspire me! What a fabulous personality trait! To be able to be 8, 48 or 88 and say ‘no problem – I can learn that!’ I love to see this!
I think it is the love of learning that keeps us young. That full blown, bouncing off the walls joy isn’t reserved to children, it is reserved for people who love to learn! I’ve seen it in all ages and walks of life, the thrill of a new world of possibilities being opened up. What was once inaccessible, is now there for you to enjoy.
Learning takes courage, it requires you to admit that you don’t know everything and that there are still things in life that interest and excite you. Learning is complicated, time consuming and often involves a bit of mess and chaos before you come through on the other side. But I know the happiness I get from it, I’ve seen the joy on the faces of others as they learn new things and gain new insights. So, my challenge is this:
Find something new! Like my eight-year-old daughter, learn how to use the computer, or fix the washing machine, learn how to side your house or bake cinnamon buns. Take the time to learn a new language, change the oil on your car or write a memoir. I don’t think it matters what it is, reclaim the joy of learning – bask in the accomplishment of doing something new, and find happiness in the practice of discovery.

Happy Learning

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