The other day I bought Mindy Kaling’s audiobook, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (and Other Concerns). I was particularly struck by the following passage:
As a teacher, coming from a family of teachers: 2 parents + 2 siblings who all participate/d in educating others in some way, and a long-time student—26 years of education! Yikes!, I place a lot of importance on learning, becoming aware, being curious and always questioning in the efforts to more deeply engage. I think this is great but…it can be too much sometimes. Kaling’s line about “the afternoon becomes ‘unlocking Mindy’s passion for Frisbee'” really hit close to home. While I don’t try to force friends or family members to be passionate about the same things I’m passionate about, I do encourage them to always be learning and thinking and engaging. Maybe learning doesn’t need to happen all of the time. Maybe we do need to shut it down and take a break. Maybe we should have space to yell out, “I don’t want to learn! I don’t want to learn!” Of course, this idea of not learning and just relaxing on the lawn with a book is not new to many. In fact, it’s not new to me; I understand it…in theory. But having spent most of my life learning and teaching and thinking and questioning, I always need a reminder of the value of relaxing and the importance of not (always) learning.