THINK… about how much you know and how much you still don’t

knowledge and wonder

I will still always treasure learning, but from a slightly different motivation now. You see, when I sat down and thought about learning as a defining feature of ‘me’, I had to ask myself why it was so. The answer was so simple and yet such a surprise. It was because, for a long time, I felt incomplete, insufficient , not quite worthy. Learning wasnt a process of betterment, it was of completion. The filling of gaping holes with something worthy.

quote from who I am #47: a student @ the bamboo principle

These words resonated with me! And they came at such a perfect moment since I have just started another semester, with new students and a re-vamped course program.

Teaching gives me an opportunity, a reason and an excuse to dive deep into learning. But, over the Summer vacation I questioned the value of what I teach… Academically, I am convinced of its importance, though, I felt I was not educating the person, just the student. Many would think it is not part of my job to mess with these teens’ souls, however, at this age, they are pure soul.

Their emotional state sets the pace and tone of the day. So, I realized I had to stop talking for a bit and start listening to what they say with words and what they with their eyes, their hands… I have to catch what’s between the lines…

My third semester students, 16-17 y-o, came back feeling a bit silly, wanting to joke around… on the first day I asked them to make a word cloud, placing in the middle their favorite word and surrounding it with words that stem from it, from there they had to write a paragraph in which they analyzed how they had changed in this last year and how their favorite word from a year ago, when they started high school, had changed to now… this year I got things like: mac&cheese, sassy, soccer, vegetables… when last year I got: serendipity, wonder, nostalgia…

I found this so funny and eye-opening PLUS, something I could relate with, it reminded me of ME at their age…

Why eye-opening? Well, the silliness is (disclaimer: I am not a psychologist and I don’t play one on tv, I just get hunches…) to me, their unconscious reaction to the oncoming, fast approaching end of their childhood… it’s like their last chance to get away with silly, crazy, for-no-logical-reason stuff… and I embraced it! I have no idea how it’s going for them at home (I’ll soon find out with my own pre-teen)

I had my own rebellion against adulthood, several times in my younger years… then I rebelled against motherhood resisting motherly clothes… no one laughed with me… and now life gives me this chance to see these teens grow up and laugh along with them in their celebratory farewell to childhood…

I completely understand what you mean, Safi. Before, I wanted to learn more and more about anything to open up my options of people I could communicate with, to go beyond the mom discourse…but now, I study to understand what people are saying and what they aren’t, to read between the lines, catch the subtext… before, I wanted to talk about what I learned, now I just want to listen and listen and learn from my silence… my teaching gives me a chance to learn, however, as time passes, I feel more ignorant of the important things in life, it seems that though my focus is on learning, my reasons are in constant change…

my comment to the post…

My reasons for learning are constantly evolving and changing with me, adapting to my surroundings… and it seems, I’ll be surrounded by teens for a while 🙂

Safi, the author or the very inspirational post mentioned this quote:

The more you know, the less you understand. — Lao-Tse

Safi, you can say that again!!

My version/interpretation of this quote is what you read at the top of the post: Follow the morsels of knowledge that lead to the big cookie of wonder… the more you know, the less you know…you know?!

Have you been there? Have your reasons for doing something you love changed?

tell me all about it and you get a big hug, jejejee 🙂

cookie image from

15 responses to “THINK… about how much you know and how much you still don’t

  1. Oh Jennifer, thank you! Your posts have this same effect with me, they take me back a few years into my early motherhood, and at the same time show me I could have done more, like you are right now… Hope your weekend was well rested (ooohhh, long weekend, right!!) big hug

  2. Such lovely and incredibly important thoughts expressed here, Alexandra – your posts never cease to inspire and to cause me to ponder! Have a fantastic Sunday.

  3. Learning has come easy to us, most definitely and being the teacher’s pet was the perk, jejejeeee! There’s something cool in having mostly hardworking students in my class, they trust in the fact that I know they can achieve whatever task I request, they feel secure in what they know… Several of them have continued writing in their free time, that to me is wonderful, when most young people avoid an essay like the plague… I made you think even more than you already do sister-friend! Thank you for loving my post 🙂 xo

  4. You made me remember that quote from Socrates: “Yo solo sé que nada sé” that we first heard of during la “prepa” years (16 or 17, coincidence?) and the fact I almost flunked Logica 1. Could it be we are also addicted to that “sensation” of a new fall school season, the crisp air that breathes in the hallways at school, the new school supplies that relate to new knowledge? Or the fact that we were “teacher’s pets” in grade school and became addicted to learning what our beloved 4th grade teacher taught us. Learning never ends. You made me think, Teacher Ale. Love this post.

  5. Now you’ve got me thinking… Learning, to be significant to others… Yes, I get that! It’s funny, people think I’m super intelligent, jajajaaaa, when I feel so ignorant… could it be that we are good listeners and we think before we speak, therefore, we say just the right thing at the right time? I’ve got a post somewhere around here where I talked about a conversation I had where the other person said that learning needed to have an intention of service and not just hoarding or accumulating information for the sake of it… though, I have to admit something, learning gives ME this sense of security and it’s something no one can take away from me, it gives ME tools to work out life’s problems, it fills my brain with juicy stuff not mushy crap, so, learning to me has been a bit self-serving…oops, it sounds worse than it really is, right, my dear friend?! 🙂

  6. And thank you for the support and for the opportunity to channel some stuff that’s been hanging around me for a while now.
    It’s a relief.
    Again, thanks!

  7. Oh no, when the pain of staying if much worse than the fear of leaving, by all means LEAVE! Mantras are meant as guidance not convincing you of stuff you know in your heart not to be true… You are a very intelligent young man and you will find fulfillment again, I am sure of that Mati… Thank you soooo much for sharing with me, I enjoyed this chat with you, big hug my friend

  8. I am about to leave, just not yet.
    Back then, I couldn’t get why friends would post mantras such as “I love my job. I love my job. I love my job.” Now I get why they repeat such things. They need to convince themselves to get by–if they’re staying there. And I have friends who stay with a job that they loathe to no end yet bear with it for “it pays the bills.”
    I don’t plan on bearing with that kind of pain any longer.

  9. Mati, anger and the/at the workplace don’t go well together, I’m sure you have noticed it :), but what’s even less nice is that the work you loved is now bringing you uncomfortable moments… So, I have to ask, do you LOVE THE WORK or WHAT YOU ACHIEVE THROUGH IT? That is, the process or the result? Being in the office, doing what you do or where all that takes you? I am not going to say, right of the bat “leave the job” because times are tough and, specially, because you started there out of love for it which is why I can’t help thinking there might be room for adjustments if it’s where you want to be… I do things in a more complicated manner than most of my fellow teachers, they can’t understand how I work and why I do things this way. when they first starting expressing heir opinion I felt a bit resentful and did notice my self-imposed huge workload…I sat back and made plans to see where I could cut corners, even leave courses and I found I couldn’t, though I would not be letting anyone down, I would not be working at my full strength and, above all, POTENTIAL… The quality of my work reflects in the growth and evolution of my students’ abilities and sense of security in what they do, appreciating that justified my workload… I’d love to read more on your situation if you’d like to share 🙂

  10. I knew I loved my work back when I was still new. That changed when responsibilities piled one after the other, along with realizing that other people’s work began to lighten while mine got heavier.
    That bit me. And it bit me really hard.
    Guess that’s why I’ve become jaded. And it takes a lot to suppress every angry word I have when I am there.

  11. Super post Alexandra, you made me think of my own voracious learning appetite. I think it stems from the desire to be significant to others. In order to be noticed and valued more I decided early on to help people in any way I could – that led me to learn as much as possible so that I could facilitate that. It continues to this day, I love to share knowledge. On some deep level we all want to leave our mark on the world. For the world to have noticed we were here – that we existed! And to positively touch other people’s lives is quite a high profile way of achieving that. Thanks for making me brain today! 🙂

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