Thursday, January 24, 2013

Live and Learn

It is amazing how prone we are to inertness. Our tendency is to stagnate. Even though life is all about growth and change, given our druthers we would rather remain the way we are. We want to sit, to sleep. We love the rut.

Even people that think they are explorers, cross cultural travelers, or life-long-learners have to fight this tendency. Even families like mine. You can uproot your family, move them half a world and a couple cultural degrees away, and you will find a routine that avoids challenges and growth. Oh, sure, you will be in “learner overload” for a couple of years. But eventually you will adapt to the new and cease to grow.

We just learned that our washing machine of the past seven years has a timer feature. We just learned how to do our banking on the web. A whole slew of things that we never got around to learning when we were trying to learn basic survival skills are opening up to us. Not because we have gotten to the point where we could manage these “luxury” skills. No, we were there four years or more ago. It is because we have been surrounded by cultural newbie’s. Helping others has opened our eyes to a lot of things we were missing.

In much the same way that it is hard to be “old” when you surround yourself with young people. It is hard to stop learning when you hang out with learners.

And as much as cross cultural people think they want to become completely immersed experts in their world, that is an impossibility. Even for the locals. The only people who have nothing more to learn are dead, or worse, ignorant.

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