Sunday, June 28, 2009

Learning waits for Maturation

When I was in college, I had a psychology professor that made a real impact on me. I remember almost every word that he said in class, I still quote him frequently. Interesting how someone can make such an impression on you. His name was Dr. Alvin Price, and he was smart, funny, and very well grounded. He wrote the book “101 Alternatives to Spanking”, and is a great inspiration to my own parenting methods.

I LOVED his class.

One of the first things that we did was to take a survey so that he could get a feel for who was in the class. There were many questions, but I only remember one. I really deliberated on this one. I wanted to make sure that I gave exactly what I meant, just in case I was ever held to my answer.

If there were only one food in heaven, what would you want it to be?

I choose potatoes. Maybe an odd choice, but I love potatoes! You can cook them in so many different ways, and they are nutritious and delicious. I’d say, the perfect food to eat forever. I had a roommate at the time that made killer hashbrowns from scratch, and that was probably on my mind, also.

So when he gets all of the surveys and goes through them, he notes that of the class of 250, the number one answer to this question was….potatoes! There were about 32 of us that answered Potatoes, and all but one of us was from Idaho. Um. That would be me.

He also talked about keeping his father’s mind working in his old age. Dr. Price had subscribed to a controversial magazine…anonymously…for his father. Then he would show up to visit on the day the magazine arrived, and he would argue with his dad. He was sure that this was what kept his father sentient.

He thought that it was sinful to laugh in the car. Something that he learned from his father, who did not allow giggling when they traveled.

He told a hilarious story about his daughters and coming of age. One of the younger ones noticed that her sister was growing hair in unusual places, and commented on it when they were bathing one day. The older sister immediately decided that they were too old to be showering together! The little one would torment her by singing, “Hairy, hairy!”

A family council was called, and the fuzzy sister insisted that they make it a family rule that no one could sing “Hairy hairy”.

The next week, the little sister would hum the tune without saying the words.

A family council was called. Fuzzy suggested that perhaps it be enacted that no one could even HUM “Hairy hairy”.

Little sister was not deterred. She would simply make the facial expressions and raise her eyebrows as if she were singing…or humming…”Hairy hairy”.

What came next? Of course, a family council was called! It then became illegal to even PRETEND to HUM “Hairy hairy”.

My boys love this story, which has been repeated throughout the years. Even my mother will hum “Hairy hairy” once in awhile and giggle.

I also learned a great deal about psychology, of course. The most notable thing that Dr. Price taught was that psychology could be used to explain away religion, if you really wanted to. And then he proceeded to show us how psychology was an extension of religion, and how to keep your faith while studying the subject. He was amazing.

But what I’ve been thinking about recently is that he taught us that learning waits for maturation. For instance, a child will not learn to read, to be pottie trained, etc, until they are mature enough physically to do so. You can try to push it, teach them around the clock…but they will not learn until it is time.

(incidentally, he said that a child is mature enough to read when they can reach over their head and grab the top of the opposite ear. Tux learned to read at 3.5, which I was not expecting. I forgot to test the arm theory! Musician refused to try to learn to read…he’s hilarious…and again, I forgot. My one last chance is Todd, and he gets his arm stretched over his head frequently!)

The reason that this is bouncing around my head is that all of a sudden, things are falling into place for me. So fast, in fact, that it makes me nervous. Or it would make me nervous, if I didn’t have that still small voice that is telling me, “I just had to wait until you were ready.”

I have worked towards my goals for some time now, and made such very little progress. Enough to keep me alive, keeping me working towards them, but that is it. It is only when I made a breakthrough inside that the outside world began to take notice.

I’m enjoying every minute of the now. I love how I feel, and the doors that are opening for me. I want to slow down the world so that I can savor every second. I know that the euphoria won’t last, but I’m hoping that the confidence will remain.

It makes me wonder if all of this would have happened sooner, if I had healed sooner? Did I hold myself back? And then I realize that the timing was perfect. Everything went as it was supposed to. You cannot rush these things, they take time.

You have to be ready for the learning!

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