Thoughts about Learning

Yesterday I came across a photo made viral on the Facebook (in Malaysia),  of an elderly lady working with a laptop.  The caption told me that the photo was posted by her grandson,  and the photo was of his grandmother working on her master’s thesis.

Although the phrase ‘inspiration’  is overused and overrated these days,  I have to say the sight is indeed inspirational. Just as inspirational as reading the story of a 82-year-old grandmother finishing her memorisation of Quran.

My heart warms to these tales of courage and insatiable thirst for knowledge, more than to those instagram photos of branded handbags or pretty dresses or exotic holiday destinations. It is the stories of the lifelong pursuit of self-improvement with the end of seeking His pleasure that often make me look at myself and introspect and get me to move.

In my days as a corporate slave years ago, I have come across people who, after a dealing or two, were obviously stuck in their ways. Refusing to progress, and worse, refusing to learn and have little drive whatsoever to know other things apart from what they do. I’ve worked with a colleague whose language skills were so bad even our boss asked him to take English classes because his inability and refusal to work to improve have caused much pain to us his team members. I’ve once asked an intern to take the minute of our departmental meeting, with me- not an uberly important meeting hence a good opportunity to learn – only to listen to her whining about not knowing what to write or how to do it.

It is fair to say that I’ve seen my ideals and have also seen the opposite. And now that I am a mother, I intend to cultivate and nurture such love for learning in my children. Fortunately, I came to know that children are just hardwired to learn, I don’t have to do anything but cautiously watch myself to see if any of my actions will kill such the inborn curiosity and thirst.

That is a task that sounds so easy, yet it doesn’t come easy without deliberate actions. How many times have we stopped children from exploring just because we don’t want them to get messy? How many times have we refused to entertain their endless daydreaming just because suddenly as an adult we become too much of a realist or have so many other ‘important’ things to attend to?

Hence, for the sake of their learning, I am learning too.

I think that’s a good deal.

*This post is written in response to the daily prompt here.

For the Love of Learning

The other day I was clipping Isa’s fingernails. He is more cooperative these days to have his nails clipped and cleaned, so we could hold decent conversations that doesn’t include me screaming to have his movement restrained.

So I began talking to him, in Malay of course, but translated into this:

“Isa, when you are bigger, you can clip your nails yourself.”

“Isa is big,” he protested. He has been claiming to be all ‘grown-up’ since a few weeks ago, so I said:

“Okay, when you know how to do it later, you can clip them yourself.”

To which he responded:

“Isa (will) learn.”

I felt like crying in happiness straightaway.

All this while, if there’s anything, any lessons that I’d like him to embrace it would be for him to love learning. To keep learning. I’ve seen numerous instances in my short life where people just stop learning, and have no whatsoever desire and drive to learn – you are neglecting the God’s command for life long learning. You are stuck in the comfort zone – and that is the worst thing that could happen. You have no curiosity at all.

That is why hearing Isa says something that shows he has understood the fact that what stands between his current self (of not knowing) and knowing (how to clip his nails, in this case) is the process called ‘learning’, without me even mentioning it first, made me thankful and inspired enough to keep doing what I am doing.

O Allah, please instill the love and desire to learn in my children, so they can better themselves – to please You eventually. May Allah guide us.