Without those props, or prompts, the colors, the ritual, can we continue to learn? I wondered, then this week, I signed myself and 3 others for an on-line 3 day course on Bio-retention. Which is a word a year ago had never entered my vocabulary. But after LEAD Agency partnered with Anthropocene Alliance 's Higher Ground, the nation's largest coalition of front line communities fighting for climate and environmental justice, we began to understand how flooding unities many who will never meet.
Individuals struggle with uncontrolled water. These individuals are organizing and have been sought out by Higher Ground's founder Harriet Festing. She has been enlisting us and as such helping us all know we are stronger together. You have all seen her work right there on Main Street, for she funded the billboard we hoped would help our senator not to flood us.
And it is through her efforts LEAD Agency will be receiving a Fish and Wildlife grant to fund a small local project to manage a bit of stormwater. And because of this, we believed it was necessary to began to learn not only the language but also to begin to better understand how on earth water can be managed at all.
And taking this course got me thinking more about the habits we began to form back when we got those brand new boxes of crayons and pencils that were packed into the cigar box we had laying around the house, which also always made we wonder how did it get there since we didn't know anyone who smoked cigars, ever. Pivotal for me was learning to read, and knowing books were a portal to enjoy, and by reading learning became, "my game" which is a term my son used to describe his own interests of the day.
That habit got me wondering what made other people be lifelong learners, since I am sure there are others, and sure enough there are articles, all sorts of them listing the characteristics or the habits needed to become one, or to identify others around you that are.
First I had to understand what on earth a habit is and how you get one started. I learned it is a process, starting with a first step, even "ridiculously small" ones and reinforcing it, then repeating. Also defined as: “ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated." Learners have discovered: "It’s about learning to know, learning to do, and learning to be."
I am not sure how one cultivates the real backbone of learners: curiosity, but there it is lies on all these lists. Being open-minded and following it will keep one learning, and experimenting, taking actions that may lead to progress that helps you succeed or edge closer to a goal.
Only one article listed a habit I won't say I was born to, but was exposed to early in life and therefore picked up young. That was the habit of using nice words, and showing gratitude sincerely. It was my Aunt Jewel who could pull out a compliment when NO ONE ELSE saw one possible and leave you believing it came from the heart. She saw things differently and taught it effortlessly. As such she demonstrated words matter, and what we say to others, even what we say to ourselves has power.
Can our words help our young, or our neighbors begin their journeys to learning, questioning, getting hooked for the first time, or reviving that part of us where we stored our dormant curiosity? Will our words encourage whole federal and state agencies to value us as real people so they seek ways to clean up our county, rid us of that legacy mining waste, mend our Tar Creek, and help our water provide safe habitat for fish we might want to consume?
What if each of us took time in this one precious day to begin new habits, start thinking of how we can stretch our minds and help one other to be that generous soul who can change the world.
What if? Why not?
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim