Becoming a Learner

This morning, I attended Beatrix's LAST "Randy's Races" track and field day at Randolph Heights. It was, fittingly, just about as cold as it was for her first one in kindergarten, when Ms. Nelson broke away from her all day off-campus training to run down and whip her huge class of hellions into angelic shape, and when the entire kindergarten class ended the day by all doing the Michael Jackson "Killer" dance with Ms. Kritta. They were so tiny that many of them cried when they could not scoot their cart across the tennis court or fell out of their burlap sack as they hopped.

Today, they were much bigger. They handled the games with aplomb, as well as a lot of joy. Beatrix was chosen as one of the older kids to help with some of the younger classes. And I almost cried because the lasts are coming fast and furious now.

Immediately after, Patrick and I whipped down to a Character Recognition Luncheon by the Synergy and Leadership Exchange (the Global Executive Director of one of our clients, The Caux Round Table, was receiving an award.) I thought it would be a good networking experience, and it was — I was especially happy to see my wonderful new state rep, Kaohly Her.

But I was struck hard by the keynote by Laura Bloomberg, the Dean of the Humphrey School. One of her main themes was the importance of being a learner — because "while the learned will be exquisitely prepared for a world that will no longer exist," the learners will adapt to that world. She also discussed the concept of "grace," which has its linguistic root in a Hebrew word meaning "to bend" — a much more compelling interpretation of the world than the usual, more religiously-based use of the term.

(I just stopped as I wrote this to watch Beatrix, in one of her first Spanish web classes, learn how to do an upside-down movement that spiraled her down the rope. It was amazing.)

These events left me a lot to think about, especially in terms of what we learn. I've been thinking a lot lately about losing mentors as I get older, as people I have learned from pass on. Many people have told me that maybe I need to be the mentor now, but I have not been able to put my finger on why that does not seem quite right yet. I realized today it's because the continued learning is still important to me — and so I need to suss how to pass on knowledge while still being a learner.


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