Gearing up for the start of school

It is that time of year here in the Mid-South as we gear up to send our kids back to school.  Things are a little different for us in the Ryan household as our youngest son graduated from college last May.  It used to be our custom to take the boys’ photo (we have two sons) when they got ready to leave on the first day of school.  It was always somewhat of a symbolic moment and their eyes and minds were full of anticipation and wonder about what the would find when they entered their new classroom each year.  I know it was that way for me.

We don’t have anyone heading back to school this year, but that doesn’t mean that learning is over.  To the contrary, learning takes place every day and the fact of the matter is that most of us are not aware of what we are learning and we are not taking great advantage of this learning.

I remember well my graduate school days at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University.  One of my early classes was taught by Janet Eyler.  It was a class on Adult Learning and the impact of that class, taken over 17 years ago, are still felt today.  I remember well learning about a gentleman by the name of Malcolm Knowles. 

Most of you will have never heard of Mr. Knowles, but he is typically known as the “Father of Adult Learning” and he is also known for his adoption of the term Andragogy, a concept about learning, especially for adults.

I found this short video on You Tube about Malcolm Knowles.  It will further supplement what I am talking about:

My point in this post is this:

  1. Most of what you will learn in your life comes from experience
  2. You are learning everyday; don’t pass up a chance to take stock of what you are learning
  3. Adults learn best from experience; classroom learning is helpful, but experience is the “breakfast of champions”

One thing that I didn’t mention about Malcolm Knowles was that much of his work was done as part of the YMCA.  At the time I first learned about Adult Learning and Knowles I was in the midst of building a new YMCA and also getting a masters degree in Human Resource Development.  Malcolm Knowles was the intersection of both parts of my life at that time.  No surprise that I remember him well today.

It is never too late to learn.  Don’t put off this chance to grow and stretch, regardless of where you are in your life.

Go out and learn something today.  After you learn, go and put the knowledge of skill to use to better someone else’s life.  By doing so you will gain personally.