Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Learning In Every Form

Today I am in Belleville taking a course on therapeutic relationships and the effects of complex trauma. I find that no matter how much study, research, and real-life experience one is exposed to, there is always something more you can learn or improve upon. Sometimes when I am in the position of being taught by someone recognized as an authority, I find myself interposing my own values and philosophies and questioning a lot of what I am being taught. Do you? Is this a bad thing?

I have heard quite a lot of people say that it is wrong or disrespectful to question authority, but I think I disagree. We should take hold of what anyone tells us (in person, in writing, or through whatever medium) and turn it over, examine it closely, critique it, take it apart and assimilate what is true and useful, then discard or store away the rest. In doing so, we take ownership of what we know and believe, and can better appropriate / apply it to our own circumstances.

In this case I am learning a lot of psychology and child development theories that conflict with my own deeply held convictions and start from a completely different worldview, but still I am finding truths and strategies that are incredibly useful for my success in parenting and relationships. I believe in absolute truth, and truth can be found in many places. We know that the most deceptive errors are those that contain some truth, and if we can clearly discern where the error lies we can still recognize and glean the grains of truth from those things.

My encouragement, then, is to search for truth wherever it can be found. Be open to learning something new and useful even from sources that are less than ideal. After all, a prophet named Balaam once received a divine message from an ass. Seek wisdom, love learning, discern truth.

2 comments:

  1. Interesting post. There is a lot of debate on whether children should be taught to obey authority or question authority. I think the arguments you have outlined are good for an adult, but for children (i.e. less than 12 years of age), in my opinion they should be taught to obey authority.

    Too often, I see a lot of disrespect for authority (e.g. teachers, police etc.) from children and adults alike, which I would argue is harmful to society.

    It certainly isn't as easy as black and white (obey vs. question), that's for sure!

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  2. Sharon, Thank you for your comment. Since my blog is geared toward fellow moms, I guess I assume that no one less than 16 is reading it. I agree that children should be taught (and taught and TAUGHT) to respect authority. For that matter, we as adults need to RESPECT authority - when it is true authority - but that doesn't preclude questioning. Even when children naturally ask "Why?" such questioning can be positive and help reinforce why certain things are so. It is childlike curiosity that has been the catalyst for so many inventions and developments that benefit mankind today, from those who were willing to (even respectfully) question the say-so of their contemporary authorities.

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