Looking back on my life, there are many moments when I can say I truly learned something that made a profound impact on me. These were not necessarily moments when someone was trying to teach me, but rather spontaneous learning, where my mind was open to what I was doing or listening to, where the right words were used, where neurons fired, the planets aligned and suddenly...POW! Enlightenment. I've decided to call that moment of profound learning the "click".
Here are some examples of the click in my life.
~My grandma was something of a rebel. A native New Yorker, she was unafraid of jaywalking and picket lines. I remember when there was controversy over a movie called Fort Apache, The Bronx. It was picketed by many minorities for what was seen as negative stereotyping and they demanded a boycott of the movie. (I don't remember if my father protested too. Dad, tell me in the comments.) Anyway, my grandma saw the movie. No one was going to tell her what to do.
My click: Don't let others tell you how to think. Seek out knowledge and form your own opinions.
~When I was little, I had a hard time focusing in church. My mind especially drifted during the homily, where the priest discusses the day's readings. But I clearly remember when Father Richard asked the congregation, "When was the last time you said thank you to God?"
My click: Always remember to keep a spirit of gratitude for what you have.
~It all started with multiplication in sixth grade. It would take hours for me to figure out homework math problems. I just didn't understand math and except for the easy ones (2, 5, 9, 10), I couldn't keep the times tables in my head. I started floundering, losing confidence, and continued my downward spiral until my lowest point: geometry. Flash forward. When I started homeschooling Marina, I would read DK's My First Math Book to her. The section on multiplication encouraged searching for the patterns in the numbers.
My click: Everything has a pattern, and if I can figure out that pattern I can learn it. I can even find joy in it through my exploration and discovery.
I don't know what my children's clicks are, but I'm sure they have them. If we give them opportunities and they are ready, clicks happen. They are exciting and highly personal experiences. You never know what might cause it: it might be a casual phrase, something overheard, a picture, a computer game, a book. All experiences offer an opportunity of profound learning.
Think about it. What are your clicks?