During the summer months, my mother approached me, asking me to participate in a project with her. She had the observation that adults simply quit learning and growing. They don’t just pause in their learning process but become so stagnate as to grow roots in a infertile soil, never moving again.
I pondered her observation about the lack of movement, progress and learning in adults. How true! Just a few days prior to her comment, I’d visited a friend who was living in a mobile home park. She commented how she wanted to move out and get a better place. I told her to do it. I felt I was being encouraging. Her reply came, “If I move, I’d have to figure out different transportation.”
I didn’t think that would be a huge problem. I offered some suggestions and solutions.
Then came the next obstacle. “If I go somewhere better the rent would be higher.”
Again, we talked and I felt we had a good solution. Why not buy a small home? She was working full-time, had a good income and decent enough credit.
She retorted that it would simply be impossible because she hadn’t saved any money. She couldn’t even afford a deposit on another rental.
The excuses continued on as did my apparent solutions. To no avail. I was distraught at her lack of ambition and desire. I quit giving her solutions and agreed that indeed her life was difficult. Afterall, wasn’t that what she wanted most to hear from me?
I started on the personal progress project with my mother, continually thinking of the recent encounter. As we worked on compiling different values, objectives, goals and outlining ways in which to excite individuals in progression, learning and goal setting, I was approa
ched by yet another person -only 17 years old. The interaction was similar to the prior one. The young man mourned his job. Nothing was right. He mourned his inability to learn. He didn’t have enough time to complete what he really wanted. With each solution, came another dilemma.
My heart broke to see listen to someone so young and yet so defeated.
With great excitement, I am happy – even thrilled – to have been a part of this most inspired project by my mother. A program and plan to encourage adults to continue learning and growing daily.
Tracy Atkinson, mother of six, lives in the Midwest with her husband and spirited long-haired miniature dachshunds. She is a teacher, having taught elementary school to higher education, holding degrees in elementary education and a master’s in higher education. Her passion is researching, studying and investigating the attributes related to self-directed learners and learning styles. She has published several titles, including MBTI Learning Styles: A Practical Approach, The Art of Learning Journals, Calais: The Annals of the Hidden, Lemosa: The Annals of the Hidden, Book Two, Rachel’s 8, The Personal Pursuit of Perfection and Securing Your Tent. She is currently working on a non-fiction text exploring the attributes of self-directed learners: The Five Characteristics of Self-directed Learners.