Thursday, May 04, 2006


I frequently think about what I am learning, who I am learning from and what it all means.

Given my experiences over the last few months my notion that I have learned the most from my family has been borne out.

Like many boomers I am part of the sandwich generation - elderly parents and children. My father died in 1992 but my mother is still living. Amazingly enough she still lives in the house I grew up in by herself at age 92. She is healthy, a little forgetful and still has those personal characteristics I remember from when I was a kid.

My children are all in their 20's and we are a relatively close family. I think every father would like his family to be closer somehow but ours seems to be close enough. My oldest son is a lawyer in Boston, my son in Vancouver manages hip hop bands - check out or or and my daughter is earning her master's degree in psychology here in Regina.

They have been my teachers. I learned more about children, learning, teaching and living from them than from any one else or any book.

For the longest time I pushed myself to look at the world the way I used to when I was young - when everything was fresh and new. Did I become jaded too early?

But when I started to see the world through my kid's eyes and my mother's eyes things changed. I understood more. I watched them all grow and change - each in their own unique, precious way. There were revelations and confusion - but each step of the way there was something to learn, something to appreciate, something to use.

I know that as I watched and learned from my children and my parents I changed as a professor. I taught differently, I planned differently and I related to my students differently. I began seeing my students - and others that grew to mean something to me - in the same light as my children. To protect and nurture them in some ways but also to watch them grow, watch them find and use their talents and most of all to help me learn.

I am selfish that way - I am always looking for that payoff - I look inwards - the question I always ask is what did I learn? what does this mean? how can I use this new insight? No one has failed me. I have learned from them all. I have loved them all.


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