Saturday, September 1, 2012

#BlogElul 14: Learning {Guest Post}

I decided that I would invite friends to do a "guest post" here on Ima on and off the Bima during BlogElul. There were quite a few motivations - 1) writing daily posts on two blogs - whew! 2) encouraging non-bloggers or new bloggers to "get out there" and just do it and 3) to hear from other people! So I hope you enjoy them - there are a number of guest posts coming up in the next two weeks! Yay!

Today's guest post is from Beth Ellen Young, who is the Director of Education at Temple Judea in Coral Gables, FL where she enjoys blending love of education, Judaism, and technology. Her novice blog is On a totally personal note, you never know when people are going to resurface in your life. Beth and I were in the same cabin in Chalutzim at OSRUI - and now here we are as colleagues and friends! I am so happy to welcome her writing today. She has been participating daily in BlogElul, too, so make sure to click over to her blog to read all her insightful posts.


Overheard in my office - with some regularity...
Parent: I'm sorry [child's name] can't come to religious school. [s/he] is really struggling with [subject matter] and needs to complete additional tutoring.
Me: I'm so sorry to hear that school is a struggle right now. I hope you get the support that [child] needs!
Parent: I think we are on the right track. It's just frustrating because [child] is so good at [other subject matter or skill set].
Me: Yeah, it's one of the crazy things about school. As a child you are supposed to be good at everything and it is only in college when you get to really specialize on the things that are of interest to you.
[insert other commentary about miss the days you need, we look froward to seeing child return, etc.]
If I were developing Beth Young's Stages of Learning, it would go something like this:
  • Learning things for survival
  • Learning things you are told to learn
  • Learning things you want to learn
However, in reflecting on my past year I have realized that even as an adult there are things that you "have to" learn - and often these are things that you don't want to learn.

This year I did a lot of learning about cancer. Following my mom's diagnosis, and in rapid succession, I learned about medications and treatments, specialties and sub-specialties, tests and what they can show and can't show, staging of cancer and markers for identifying types of cancer, resources and support programs. I also learned about helpful websites (American Cancer Society) and non-helpful websites (pretty much any chat board). In a matter of hours words like "oncologist," "palliative care," "subcutaneous injection," and "neutropenia"went from vocabulary words to commonly used in everyday conversations.

I hope that no one reading this blog has had to go through this sort of education. And I know that many of you have. While I was very angry with God that my mom was facing this trial, I was also grateful that as a human I had the ability to continue to learn and understand what was happening in my mom's body.

Learning truly is a gift from God - both for the enjoyment of exploring areas of interest and fascination and for coping and handling the unexpected curve balls that are thrown our way as well.

May the year ahead be one that is filled with enjoyable learning!

The Jewish month of Elul, which precedes the High Holy Days, is traditionally a time of renewal and reflection. It offers a chance for spiritual preparation for the Days of Awe. It is traditional to begin one’s preparation for the High Holy Days during this month with the Selichot, the prayers of forgiveness. We look to begin the year with a clean slate, starting anew, refreshed. All month, along with others, I'll be blogging a thought or two for each day to help with the month of preparation... I will be blogging here, and sharing #Elulgram photos on the same themes at Follow me on twitter @imabima for all the #BlogElul posts, not only mine but others' as well! 

Leave your blog Elul post in the linky below!

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