I have had the unique opportunity of teaching and social working with high school age for 15ish years before I blended into the elementary level about four or five years ago.
I recall seeing the phrase ‘love of learning’ on some checklist somewhere over the years, most likely relating to ‘student strengths’. I never really gave it much thought. I’m fairly certain I never checked the box. I’m sure at some point during my social working high school years I gave the phrase enough thought so as to sneer or laugh at it in a ‘as if’, roll the eyes, sort of way.
I see the relevance now. Children. LOVE of.
I first noticed this ‘love of learning’ in a little boy who had a messy Kindergarten year. He did Kindergarten over again. He blossomed. I noticed the pride he had when he figured out how to cut with scissors. I watched the effort and the interest in his sweet face as he practiced sounding out the letters in words that were everywhere. It was as if he discovered this fun, new experience of the world and he wanted more. His growth was so evident that he no longer needed to spend time with me. He is in first grade now. His mouth bubble is the biggest when he walks with his class in the hallway. It’s hard not to notice the contrast. When behavior becomes disruptive in his reading group, he quiets and waits for it pass, seemingly more interested in what is to come rather than what is happening in that minute.
I realize with children it’s not just love of learning. It’s love of. Need an esteem boost? Walk into an elementary school classroom. Give ANY child ANY recognition for ANYthing. The younger the better. You are loved. They will hold your hand, give you a hug, ask you your name, ask to go with you, sit on your lap…they can’t get enough of you. What did you do? You saw them. You noticed them. You honored their aliveness. You validated their existence. Maybe that’s really all any of us want from another. I see you. I hear you. I value you. I understand you. In others words, I ‘get’ you.
Perhaps there is some embellishment in my description. The point is the fun and play, the curiosity and possibility that children tend to radiate effortlessly. It’s the juice of our aliveness that we all have access to. The children are there to remind us when we slow down enough to see it.