Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Learning how to rest ...................... Parables 026

School holidays are officially here but most of us realize that we seldom take a rest from learning. 

I have been doing some research concerning education. One article describes the learning experience something like this:

An effective learner involves himself fully, openly, and without bias in new experiences or information, making thorough observation and giving thought to what has been observed. The learner than forms concepts or conclusions from those observations and uses the results to make decisions or solve problems in the future.

A simple illustration: A young child goes to a friend’s birthday party, tries to take the new toys home for himself, and gets spanked for his efforts. He sits on the front step, thinks about the experience, reflects on the results, and tires to imagine how his friend might feel about it, as his mother suggested. After a time, he concludes that it is not a good idea to take someone’s toys. It might seem like it would bring pleasure, but it brings pain. The next time he plays with his friends, his conclusion helps him to respect their belongings.

It seems as if many of us go through life learning things like that . . .  the hard way. Or we try to learn backwards, forming our theories according to what we desire and then exhaust ourselves to push experiences to fit them. Or we try to do something and it doesn’t work but we keep doing it over and over, and never learn from the mistakes that we make.

According to the information that I have, anyone who does not learn has neglected or misconstrued one or all of these learning stages and suffered the consequences. Personal bias can hinder correct observations, and learning from false or incomplete information results in false or incomplete conclusions. Some learners just never think through new information. Another possible reason for failure to learn is to look, examine, agree, but leave it at that, without any application to life.

Some people have called Jesus Christ the Master Teacher. That distinction alone merits a look at His perspective of learning. Of This topic He says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me: for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28).

Learning from Christ, according to the four stage learning experience, would involve:
1) Approaching what He says, fully open, leaving aside any bias.
2) Making a thorough observation of His teaching as recorded in the New Testament.
3) Forming conclusions from those observations.
4) Using those conclusions in future decision -making.

One lesson that Jesus offers to learners is that He came to give rest to the weary of soul. That could be a student glad to be out of school, a home maker needing a break, a worker looking forward to days off, or someone without a job and weary of the concerns of his situation. Whatever summer vacation holds for each of us, it, or anytime, is a good time to learn from the Master Teacher what real rest is all about.

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