Life is a classroom

It should come as no surprise that, if I think life is for learning, I would view the process of life itself as a classroom. But it’s not a dull, sit in neat little rows, and listen to some puffed up professor. Life is experiential. In that sense, life’s more of a workshop.

I like to think the workshop or classroom of life is perfectly arranged, so that we learn what we need to learn, when we need to learn it, just the way we need to learn it. The operative word in all that is need, not want.

Life’s lessons come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes what we need to know, we learn in a formal way, such as taking a class or reading a book. Sometimes we learn by an informal, seemingly accidental process: an overheard comment in an elevator, a friend’s offhand remark, or the line of a song from a passing radio. I like to think there are no accidents.

Positive lessons are not always taught in positive ways. A flat tire, hardly a positive occurrence, can teach any number of lessons: acceptance, the value of planning, patience, the joy of service, if another person has the flat tire, the gratitude of being served, if another person helps you, and so on.

We can also use the same flat tire to learn depressing lessons like, life isn’t fair; nothing can be trusted; if anything can go wrong it will; life’s a pain; nobody loves me and so on.

Do you begin to see your role in all this? The classroom of life is not third grade, where all you will learn each day is neatly planned including recess. In life, you choose what you learn from the many lessons presented to you, and your choice is fundamental to what you learn.

There are any number of lessons we can learn from any experience, both uplifting and down pushing. Experience, it is said, is the best teacher provided, of course, we become the best students. But who really is the teacher?

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