Who I have learned things from...

"Everything I need to know, I learned in kindergarten."

"It takes a village to raise a child."

Oh, I'm sure there are more adages about where we learn things and how we learn them. Over the last several months, I have thought about jotting down a list of friends, family, acquaintances...even brief encounters... and what they have taught me specifically. That thought comes and goes without any action...just a few mental thoughts.

Today I learned that a kind man at church, who has suffered for years with various tumors on his spine and in his brain...is once again afflicted with them. And they are inoperable. Sad. Very Sad.

While I do not know him very well, I do know what he taught me. The example that he has given me... From the time that I first moved up here and started attending this church, he always greets me by name and with a smile when we pass in the hall. It lifts my spirits to have someone look me in my eye when addressing me and make me feel a little more special and at home.
So, today instead of the "mental thoughts" on what I have learned from others, I am starting a physical list.

Pam Balderree: Was a good friend when my first 2 kids were toddlers. And from Pam I learned that when someone watches your kids, bring some extra treats. Not sure why that always comes to mind. My good friend Michele does this too. To kids, treats from someone else's house always taste better too...drink boxes, peanutbutter crackers, pretzles. And it makes babysitting easier for some reason. Pam introduced me to the Christmas Elf and to hanging up streamers in the house on birthdays.

Michele: I've learned to be more generous. She is always giving of her time, money and talents to help others. She doesn't sweat the small change.

Mom: To be punctual to a fault. Just ask Ken. I'm crazy nutsy about being on time. On time as in..."arriving to a location 10 minutes before the actually hour"...just to be sure. Also...mom taught me the importance of ironing. I can not tell you how many times she sent me back into the house to change my outfit b/c my clothes were a tossled mess! To this day, I may put on a shirt that "isn't too wrinkled." But then take it off and re-irong it b/c truthfully...it's wrinkled.

Dad: To do the job right the first time. He would help me do the (dreaded) dishes. As we worked together he would say: "Dawn, you can do the job right the first time. Or you can do it a 3rd or 5th or 6th time." Also, he has always had a superb vocabulary. Which I have noticed that my siblings do too. I was talking to Cara on the phone last week and she used a "big" word...which I knew. Lately, I think that some of the words I are unknown to those I am talking to.

Clint from my freshman year at Miami University: Just because I don't like someone doesn't mean that they feel that same way towards me. In fact, they probably even like me and want to show compassion.

From my Grandmother: If you have a clean house, then you can always invite someone in...unexpectedly and not have to worry about the state of things.

Ann Marie Halverson: If you pose questions to others and listen to their responses, you might not be talking about yourself very much...but you sure learn a lot! Whenever I had conversations with her, I did the talking b/c she was always asking me a question!

Ruth Ann Vest: Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.

Now...of course, I have learned things the hard way too. My post about integrity was b/c I was dealing with someone who was lying to me. Lying to a group of us. Which of course, we have all have many cheats in our lives, no doubt. I learned that I was so naitive from my husband.

From two brief encounters of a nameless college co-ed, I learned that people watch me. They notice what I am doing or saying, even if I am not watching the choices that I make. Poeple notice. (So I had better be making the right choice.)

You just never know what you impress upon someone. So make your actions count. The only thing we can take from this life is what we have learned. Go learn, go observe, chat, interact, relax your guard enough to welcome new ideas...incorporate the best into your own life. (I just wonder what my influence will be on other...You just never know.)
**I started this post last night...but will be adding to it as my memory is stirred and I recall names/faces and lessons learned.
**Of course I have learned a lot more from my parents...but that just might have to be another post.


Lin said...

great blog, cool ideas...that's a word from the 50s which means awesome! I loved reading what you learned from your parents. We as parents often wonder if our kids learned anything from us. But once while visiting my son Dan's ward he bore his testimony and said he remembered from a child knowing that his mother believed and he wanted to get his own testimony.

That one comment made my day and all the struggles as a single parent for years worth it. So guess the next step after identifying what we've learned is expresssing thanks to those who taught us by their example. a little thank you note could make their day...thanks for the reminder.

Kim P said...

Good morning, Dawn!

What a nice series of reflections! I, too, think it is good to recall how important people are and how they have touched our lives. God allows our paths to cross for a reason! Here's to all of us taking time to treasure everyone!

I'm glad we have "met" on SCS...maybe someday we will meet in person! ;-)

mom/caryn said...

Wonderful post!!!

Its strkes me now and then when I say something or I'm in the midst of a "teaching" moment with my kids or a class that I'm repeating things that I learned from someone I barely knew... if I knew them at all.

Sometimes it's something I overheard the nurses in the doctor's office talking about, or heard a co-worker say in office conversation. Perhaps it's something I read in a book, or a magazine, on a license plate, the side of a bus, or in Calvin and Hobbes. Perhaps it's something I learned by watching, observing, or just being in the right place when someone does an act of kindness, lives with great courage, or expresses their creativity in some innovative way.

So much to learn. So many opportunities to learn it. So many teachers to show us the way. Many who have no idea that they're teaching us. What is the adage? "When you are prepared to learn, the teacher will appear", or something vaguely like that. I had a good friend and mentor who taught me that "Awareness is the mother of all creativity and learning." It would seem that you are extremely aware and able to notice and absorb what lessons are presented to you.