What does it take to learn something that seems difficult or to learn enough to be transformed?
Why bother trying to learn anything?
Who are the real transformers?
In Stand and Deliver, Jaime Escalante emphasized the importance of the desire to succeed so that a student could reach a high goal and have a life transformation. The movie focused on his years of real life work with students who had to overcome great adversity to make it into college. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have Dream,” speech has encouraged countless people to hold onto their dreams, to learn how to fulfill their dreams, and to transform their lives and others. Helen Keller, born healthy but stricken blind and deaf in an illness said a peson gains strength and character is transformed through overcoming suffering. Viktor Frankl, a psychologist who survived years in a Nazi concentration camp, wrote in Man’s Search for Meaning, people have the power of self-determination even when their freedom is limited. In other words, everyone has the ability to make a positive choice, even when their situation seems desperate. With a desire to succeed, goals to help keep a person focused on success, dreams of what can be, a person can learn, transform, and affect change in even the most difficult circumstances.
Learning keeps a person involved with life and helps people to appreciate different parts of living. Struggling to learn something new is like exercise-it might be tough but there are constant changes and improvements in the struggle. Active learning finds a person listening, repeating, remembering, connecting, practicing, and making progress. Reflection is taking time to think over what a person has learned and what that learning has changed within one’s life. Learning nurtures the mind, soul, and body, not always in that order. Inspiration comes to learners through connections made, through role models, through the process of moving forward. New growth causes a different person to emerge; now the nascent potential becomes more obvious-the person is growing in more ways than had been imagined.
If we find a life of peace where we never have to learn anything, never have to be active, never have to change and grow-we won’t be alive. Vibrant life includes constant changes, and vital to coping with change is learning. Embracing learning is a choice each person must make. The more difficult the task, the more we can learn even in ways we cannot foresee. People who welcome and pursue learning are people who find far more in life than they expected. They transform and help transform the world around them.
Maya Angelou, in “Commencement Address,” pointed out the transforming power of learning. Learning is not a degree. Maya Angelou said, “Look beyond your tasseled caps and you will see injustice…go out and transform your world, welcome to your graduation, Congratulations.”