Installment #7: What My Toddler Has Taught Me About Adult Learning

Sometimes we just need help.

Adult learners balance precariously on very thin beams. Our attentions are divided among our professional obligations, our kids, our parents, our bills, our pets, our partners, our lawns that need mowing and our laundry that needs washing. And oh, did I mention that essay to write, that study group to attend, that book to read, that research to do? Yeah – all that LEARNING that needs to happen?

Oh, and what about sleep?

And darnnit — as hard as it is to admit — sometimes we need help! As Mac has told me very clearly these days, when he is in the midst of striving for independence and perfection (hmmm – sound familiar?), help is the last thing he wants from me. He wants to do it (whatever “it” is) himself; he wants to be a super-hero; get it all done and done well; and get credit for it all.  He wants to be self-sufficient and strong, just like we do.

I'm glad dad is here to hang on to!

But indeed, sometimes we just need help. So when you need it, ask for it!

  • Ask your partner to make dinner a few nights a week.
  • Ask a co-worker to let you sit and read quietly on your lunch break 3 days a week.
  • Ask your boss for a day off.
  • Ask your instructor for help interpreting an assignment.
  • Ask a trusted study partner to proofread your paper for you.
  • Ask your kids to clean the bathroom (and thank them gloriously when they do).
  • Ask a librarian to help you with a literature search.
  • ASK!

PREVIOUS INSTALLMENTS OF “WHAT MY TODDLER HAS TAUGHT ME ABOUT ADULT LEARNING” CAN BE FOUND HERE:

#1 – Learning Can Happen When We Challenge our Perspectives

#2 – Learning is Developmental

#3 – We Learn by Direct Experience

#4 – We Learn by Observing Others, Even If Others Are Not Experts

#5 – The Importance Of Books In Learning

#6 – Selecting the Right Learning Tools

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10 thoughts on “Installment #7: What My Toddler Has Taught Me About Adult Learning

  1. This is wonderful advice that can’t be repeated enough.

    I was well reminded about the need for independence this weekend when my daughter declared that she will not root for the Red Sox because “I like the Cardinals!”

    What I found interesting on a separate note is that she could not (or would not) tell me who she was emulating with that decision, but it certainly wasn’t anyone in our family. I wonder if she even realizes when she made this decision.

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