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Learning Through Doing

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About a week ago, I was sitting in the infant classroom at my school, watching a little girl pull herself up to her feet, using the table as support. It did not appear easy. She had focus in her face, determination in her muscles, and a tickled look of accomplishment when she completed the task at hand. She had ventured this endeavor over the past few days, only to fall on the floor and cry when she had lost her balance. But always, she tried again. And again. And again.

She reminded me that from the day we’re born to the day we die, we learn by doing. We observe, take notes, study, ask questions, and hypothesize. But we also do. We learn how do all sorts of things: blow our nose, tie our shoes, use utensils, brush our teeth, operate the copier, bake cookies, apply for jobs, pay our taxes, make doctor appointments, assemble our portfolios, express opinions, listen, and care for one another.

Sometimes it gets frustrating. We can’t reach the ball on the carpet because we’re still learning how to crawl. A math problem doesn’t make sense. We have overbooked our schedules, again. But it’s ok; there was the attempt made. And one day, it will happen. In the meantime, I am reminded of the words of Michael Jordan: “I failed over and over again in my life, and that’s why I succeeded.”

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