I highly value feedback and insight. Some people feel threatened by it, but I strongly believe that there is no such thing as common sense. We are taught everything – except for the need to somehow stuff our mouths and poop and make our limbs and eyes move in a minimal fashion.
I learned by watching a video on feral children (some are described by Listverse), and seeing a severely abused and neglected adolescent as an early teen (who could not walk, speak, or eat on her own and was extremely afraid of strangers – especially of someone who came close to her face while trying to communicate with her), we have to have someone teach us how to eat, talk, walk. We need to be taught how to use a phone, computer, iPad… We need to be taught how to communicate verbally and nonverbally in every setting we find ourselves in. Sometimes it is “easy” to assimilate and learn, other times it takes a head’s up that might feel a bit uncomfortable. “Easy” assimilation is obtained by excellent teaching. It is difficult to find an excellent teacher in every setting and situation we find ourselves in. We are lucky if we find even one excellent, supportive teacher in any situation we find ourselves in this experience called life. Some are good teachers when the individual who is being taught is “green,” some are great at mentoring, others are good at re-teaching the student what has already been “taught.”
I’ve been very lucky to find an excellent academic and spiritual mentor at George Fox University. However, pretty much everything else has been obtained from the school of hard knocks. As a result, I highly value feedback, mentorship, teaching, and guidance from whoever and wherever. Hence the “why” questions rather than “what” questions that I learned about recently.
I never knew “why” questions could be taken offensively. I would have never known that unless someone told me. Some might be able to pick up on cues or overhear someone say something or imply something that would teach them that, for others (such as for the individual I learned from), “what” questions are better than “why” questions. I had to be told point-blank as to how someone feels when being asked a “why” question. In nursing school I was told the exact opposite. Through my life experiences, I greatly valued every kind of blunt or evasive question that was posed my way. I’m grateful that he was kind about sharing this educational tidbit, but I wouldn’t have cared if he was mean about it (although I might complain or balk at first) because I had the opportunity to learn something quite valuable, something that is extremely important to me that I feel I should know.
Education is under-rated in so many different settings and scenarios. It is so very important to have an excellent teacher in home, community, school, and work settings. It is wonderful when someone teaches you how, what, when, why, where and then lets you figure it out on your own while being available to answer questions in a non-threatening manner. It is so fabulously wonderful when you learn from someone who will not shame, belittle, criticize, or threaten you for making an unintentional mistake. I wish I could’ve had positive mentorship in so many different settings. However, I was still able to make the best of it and I’m incredibly grateful for every experience – positive and negative – that I have found myself in.
The school of hard knocks is so very, very difficult. It takes resilience and determination to overcome and achieve. It takes a willingness to take criticism – done poorly and well. It takes a willingness to learn from every situation, scenario, and environment that a person finds themselves in. It takes a willingness to be beaten down yet get back up. It helps when you gain the ability – and learn how – to avoid being beaten down.
Feedback and insight are so wonderful. It helps keep you out of trouble. It helps you learn and grow in every way possible. It helps you be a better person if you let it. I’m hoping that I can find some more positive mentors in my life – particularly someone (one or more) who will help me obtain my goals professionally. Without positive mentorship, feedback, and insight, we just flop. We flop until we make it – even if it takes years and years. It’s an uphill struggle and an intense battle to go through.
May you – and I – continue to find positive mentors in our lives – and to learn and escape from the negative ones – who will take us where we want to go and will provide just the feedback and insight we need to get us there.