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Coffee & Grit 6. Cultivating a Love for Learning

Updated: Dec 16, 2021


 

Today Lindsey explores the joy and gift of cultivating a love for learning.


Highlights include:

-Making learning materials accessible.

-Removing “cheap distractions”.

-Empower the learner to solve the question.

-Learning to question.

-Encourage and lead by example.


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08;06;30;20 - 08;06;26;20

Lindsey

Hello and welcome to Coffee & Grit. I'm Lindsey Mayo, joined by John, how are you today?


08;06;26;10 - 08;06;25;08

Jon

I am doing well.


08;06;24;28 - 08;06;04;11

Lindsey

So last week we talked about our last episode. We talked about cultivating respect and how a couple actionable steps on how to do that, going along that line of, you know, cultivating things and what are characteristics that we want to to further and expand upon in ourselves and in our home.


08;06;03;28 - 08;05;52;18

Lindsey

The next one that really comes to my mind is is learning and really creating a love for learning. Sorry, I thought I was going to I thought, I guess, new.


08;05;52;18 - 08;05;52;05

Jon

Countries.


08;05;50;16 - 08;05;26;27

Lindsey

And, you know, how do you do that and what are some of the things that even I've learned, you know, from my parents and different people who've really shown and demonstrated learning throughout my life. So I've been able to watch that and then kind of grow my own love for learning.


08;05;26;16 - 08;05;08;05

Lindsey

I really love to research things, and I think just about anybody who knows me knows that because I'm always looking up something and reading something, grabbing a book of some sort. Our phones are wonderful devices, but they're only wonderful devices if your children are seen that you're researching things and not just on social media.


08;05;07;20 - 08;04;52;22

Lindsey

I think that's where it becomes difficult because then they just go, Oh, well, mom's just on her phone and they think that it's it's like you're playing a game instead of using it as a tool to learn and expand upon research and knowledge.


08;04;51;04 - 08;04;33;00

Jon

Yeah, I I think there's like really just functional. I utilitarian reason to teach a love for learning also opposed to. You know, other other things and what comes to mind is. We only have so many years of their kids, right?


08;04;32;14 - 08;04;16;05

Jon

And there is a near infinite amount of data that can be taught. Like, there's so much more than any one person can consume or learn, period, so when you're just looking at like, well, what can I teach my children to bring them to success?


08;04;16;05 - 08;04;00;13

Jon

And what am I learning in my own life? It's like, Well, I am going to be a lifelong learner. Right, there's this entire thing, and I plan on studying and researching and learning new things till the day I die, which it comes from a love of learning that's been cultivated over the years.


08;03;59;24 - 08;03;36;07

Jon

So it's like, OK, well, what makes me want to do that? If we can distill that right, which is the entire purpose of this conversation and figure out how to teach our children to learn to, to desire, to learn, to find that to be valuable and enjoyable and rewarding, then they're going to because of that, be able


08;03;36;07 - 08;03;25;28

Jon

to learn so many more things than we could ever teach them. So it's kind of like in my mind, there's also this like value proposition. If I can't teach you everything I want you to know, I'm not able to.


08;03;25;11 - 08;03;07;25

Jon

I can't teach you everything you need to know. But if I can teach you how to learn how to use reason and logic and figure things out, then you were pulling the strings that you need to to get the information that is required to make good decisions for your life and your journey.


08;03;07;17 - 08;03;00;14

Jon

And I think it's kind of like equipping them with a tool for the journey versus all the answers to the test. And it's beautiful.


08;02;59;29 - 08;02;40;25

Lindsey

Yeah, I absolutely agree. I think some of the ways that we can do that is one obviously like respect, demonstrate it and show it yourself. If that means that you, you know, you rent a book from the library so you can pick up the book and read it in front of them, then go do that.


08;02;40;25 - 08;02;19;14

Lindsey

Library cards are free. The library has an endless amount of resources your public libraries do, and they even do have audible type books and things like that. If you, you know, don't want to afford the subscription through other listening ways, we as a family are we listen to books when we're in the car.


08;02;19;00 - 08;01;50;02

Lindsey

And there's infinite amount of lessons being learned through good, wholesome books that we feel are providing value and thought provoking value in their lives. The other thing, too, that I really think is. Is something that's good to cultivate learning is to ask them their opinion on things, so if they bring a question to you, you may know


08;01;50;02 - 08;01;28;28

Lindsey

the answer already. But instead of just giving them the answer, ask them how you, how they think it may work or how they may come to the conclusion and just kind of do that right? Like ask thought-provoking questions so that they can start using that muscle on because it is a muscle, it has to be trained.


08;01;28;28 - 08;01;07;04

Lindsey

It has to be taught on how to. To develop those thoughts and put actual. You know, your money where your mouth is type of thing, and then if you're wrong, go, OK, well, now I need to go look it up or research that to find the answer, like I may not know the answer you may be super


08;01;07;04 - 08;00;53;28

Lindsey

close to. You may be completely off and wrong, and it's like, OK, well, let's go. Look that up together, and then you can come alongside specifically with your children. You can come alongside them and learn and research that together.


08;00;53;28 - 08;00;35;12

Lindsey

And I think even as adults, right, like if you and I don't know something, it's like, OK, can we divide and conquer this task? All learned this aspect of it. You learn that aspect of it. You now have an infinite amount of, you know, YouTube videos are there.


08;00;35;11 - 08;00;15;04

Lindsey

I wouldn't personally send my children by themselves to YouTube just because not all of it is censored and just my personal preferences. But there's so much that we can learn. There's so many different resources in general, but I learned a lot through picking up books and reading books and looking through the how to use and different things


08;00;15;04 - 08;00;14;17

Lindsey

like that.


08;00;14;05 - 09;59;58;19

Jon

Yeah, I, you know, I'm thinking about like last week's conversation on cultivating respect. Right. And I think that this one's different. I can both. You have to lead by example, but I don't think maybe comparing them is wrong or not helpful.


09;59;58;11 - 09;59;41;03

Jon

But when I look at a love for learning you, you genuinely have to live that I think for it to be attractive to the kids. And I'm thinking about some of the things that. Know, I think it's more focused like on you and me and then the outcomes, the kids and then we're focusing on, how can we


09;59;41;03 - 09;59;30;06

Jon

make this more attractive for the kids, right? Like. And I'm looking at our life over the last year and I'm thinking about, OK, we put the TV away so we don't have a TV visible in any of our living spaces.


09;59;30;05 - 09;59;16;02

Jon

It's in our boiler room and we bring it out for family movie nights. And when we're going to watch TV, we'll pull it out, plug it in. It's a pain in the butt, but it's a deliberate distancing from the ease of that distraction right over that easy cop out.


09;59;15;27 - 09;59;02;07

Jon

You know, let's just sit and watch a show. The other thing, like you mentioned, is about a year ago, we started reading chapter books, a chapter a night before bed to put them down and listening to books on tape in the car.


09;59;01;27 - 09;58;48;02

Jon

Now, one of the reasons I want to bring that up is we started that a year ago. I would say only in like the last three months has, you know, there's been more interest over the year. But like, I'm really thinking in the last 30 to 90 days, the kids have been.


09;58;46;16 - 09;58;42;25

Jon

Really excited about it, like you start the car and it's.


09;58;42;25 - 09;58;40;10

Lindsey

Like it's been longer than that, but yeah.


09;58;40;08 - 09;58;37;19

Jon

Can you put the show? Can you put the book on? We want to listen to the book.


09;58;37;18 - 09;58;35;21

Lindsey

We barely have even gotten in the car.


09;58;35;13 - 09;58;34;29

Jon

Hey, we.


09;58;34;22 - 09;58;33;19

Lindsey

It's like, why is it not played?


09;58;33;18 - 09;58;21;28

Jon

Why are we not reading tonight, right? Why are we not doing this? And then like that's grown into? I bought a book series from the Tuttle Twins, which is an excellent series to go through with your children. I will attach the link in this.


09;58;21;28 - 09;58;04;23

Jon

Please use it because I am an affiliate for them, so I appreciate that. But I they are so excited. I read them one book a week on Sundays and they're so excited for it now. So like for me that the big difference is not that they don't enjoy it at the start, it's that now they are seeking


09;58;04;23 - 09;57;45;16

Jon

it out and they want more of it daily. And I think that there's something to pull the string on one, setting the behaviors and doing them consistently and giving it time to catch on. But there's also the removing of things that's helped cultivate this love to read and to have to sit and listen, use their imaginations and


09;57;44;27 - 09;57;25;26

Jon

to ask those questions right from removing an easy consumption like that TV, right, where you can just see the pictures and hear the words, and you just continue to bring off and absorb it versus something where you're listening to a book and you're needing to imagine the pictures or something you do really well is because there's not


09;57;25;26 - 09;57;20;19

Jon

just a TV on. You have the kids help you cook, you have the kids help you do projects you're working on.


09;57;20;14 - 09;56;58;00

Lindsey

I also have a lot of. Books on hand that are at their grade levels, and those are they're they're not necessarily books that are required for school, and I did this when we were homeschooling as well. I had extra books outside of their quote unquote curriculum so that they could play in them in a sense.


09;56;57;24 - 09;56;40;22

Lindsey

But that way they're doing things that they really enjoy and they really like. And it's like, OK, well, let's do this one really well, because when you do something really well, then you kind of get a little bit of courage to start to try in an area that you don't do really well in.


09;56;40;14 - 09;56;18;21

Lindsey

And if, for a great example, Jeremiah has not been the strongest of readers, and just recently I buy his book that he is using in school. And the second that he got it, he lit up because it was something that we got to help reinforce and say, Hey, we think this matters and we want you to feel


09;56;18;21 - 09;56;01;13

Lindsey

more prepared in this area. And now this morning, he was telling me that reading is becoming one of his favorite subjects. So he's like matters first and reading a second. And I was like, That's amazing, where before it was like trying to pull his teeth, it was an absolute battle.


09;56;01;04 - 09;55;43;22

Lindsey

I would have just been like, You know what? You'll never learn to read and will be OK with that, right? It was really hard, and it was one of the the main decisions of why we wanted to have him go and be taught by somebody else because he was receiving instruction from them better than he was from


09;55;43;22 - 09;55;23;28

Lindsey

us. And now he has the disciplines in place where he is wanting us to come alongside him and encourage him and give him some of those extra tools that I think are really helping him. So now I have a lot of those little extra books, so he's really into handwriting.


09;55;23;28 - 09;55;08;29

Lindsey

And so as Gabriel and Jeremiah is learning cursive and Gabe wants to learn cursive, but it's not at his grade level, supposedly. So I have a couple of those. I have a couple of those books around because if they're interested in it, let them go hard in the paint.


09;55;08;28 - 09;55;01;19

Jon

Yeah, that's a grade level. Great grade levels are not supposed to be limited by the limitations. They're supposed to be minimums. So it's like.


09;55;01;06 - 09;54;43;18

Lindsey

But that's beside the point. My point is is that if you give them the tools in front of them that they're always accessible for like these little booklets for them, then it allows them to pick it up in their free time and go, Hey, I want to work on this right now.


09;54;43;12 - 09;54;39;11

Lindsey

And that is pushing them towards wanting to learn as well.


09;54;39;05 - 09;54;20;02

Jon

Well, yeah. And what you're talking about, you're designing an ecosystem for that rewards initiative and trying new things and learning. Right, right. And I just think that there's so so Jordan Peterson has this idea that, he posits, is one of his rules, one of his twelve rules from his original book.


09;54;20;02 - 09;54;05;18

Jon

And it's to treat yourself as if you're taking care of someone else. Right? Because if you're taking care of someone else as parents, how we take care of our kids and the things you want to encourage them to do is often different than how we take care of ourselves.


09;54;05;18 - 09;53;53;29

Jon

Or it is simple analogy is if you have medicine to give your kids that they need, you're they're not going to miss a dose, right? You may not be so careful to take that medicine for yourself. We see that statistically a lot.


09;53;53;28 - 09;53;38;16

Jon

Right? Well, the same is true with learning new things. So like, I just can't help but think one of the things you did bear with me for just a second, but one of the things you did early on dietary is you removed all the junky snacks from the house and you put like a bowl of nuts, animal


09;53;38;16 - 09;53;23;15

Jon

fruit on the counter, and you just made the good options, the healthy options accessible and you removed the unhealthy ones. So over time, it's like, Well, we don't want this to them starting to eat it to them now wanting that and complaining if they get too much sugar or things like that.


09;53;23;05 - 09;53;10;08

Jon

So there's this transition. You engineered the environment to make it easier to have the beneficial stuff, harder to have the less beneficial stuff, and over time it was adapted. Right, right. Well, with learning, it's the same by us.


09;53;10;03 - 09;52;56;19

Jon

For us, a big piece is removing. The television helped condition the environment that over time, they're not looking to the TV for entertainment. They're looking to play. They're looking to experimentation, to learning and trying these things that you're talking about.


09;52;56;07 - 09;52;36;29

Jon

So on the one hand, you removed something that was unhelpful. And on the other hand, you're making accessible these booklets in these resources for them to engage in learning activities and you explore them. I think that we can take a page from that idea as adults for ourselves, too.


09;52;36;24 - 09;52;19;11

Lindsey

Oh, I have an infinite stack of how to books or things that I'm studying, and some of them are on my nightstand. Some of them are in my desk. And so they're easy, quick grab books like How to Garden and What is gardening in Colorado specifically look like, and just these different things that I'm striving for, but


09;52;19;11 - 09;52;07;10

Lindsey

I have those accessible to. And it's a lot of like, OK, my phones put down for the day, and this is what I want to do because it matters to me. And then, you know, they're seeing that as well.


09;52;07;09 - 09;51;51;25

Jon

But but that's the point. You put your phone down. Right? So you have accessible what you want and then you remove the easy distractions that are engineered to capture your interest. So I think that there's this kind of yin yang balance that's super helpful when looking at how do you cultivate a love from learning from what I'm


09;51;51;25 - 09;51;38;11

Jon

hearing from you, where you engineer the environment in a two part act of one, removing the unhelpful stuff to the best of your ability and to injecting the tools and mediums that help encourage that. But so there's like that balance going on.


09;51;38;01 - 09;51;29;12

Jon

But then the third thing you touched on is also how you interact with and encourage and respond to trying new things and failure.


09;51;28;26 - 09;51;10;27

Lindsey

Yeah, and you have to really understand that. You will fail because you're not 100% perfect, right? And if you get it on the first time, that's great. But normally if you're putting IKEA furniture together, something goes wrong because the instructions are not fantastic.


09;51;10;27 - 09;51;00;23

Lindsey

Always. But, you know, after a couple of the times you've put IKEA furniture together, you start to go, Oh, OK, I kind of see where they're going with this, and you know, you have less failure along the line.


09;51;00;17 - 09;50;49;12

Lindsey

Right? But yeah, you have to be able to go, OK, well, let's sit here and at least try. Because if you're not willing to try, then you're not willing to learn anything. Europe's, in my opinion.


09;50;49;06 - 09;50;39;07

Jon

Well, no, I think I think your opinion is or is more factual than opinion, because if you don't try, then how are you going to learn, right? Like, how can you at least have to try to learn or you won't?


09;50;39;04 - 09;50;31;26

Jon

Right. So if you're not even going to Google it, if you're not even willing to check out the book on it, then you're never going to learn anything about it. Right. And.


09;50;28;27 - 09;50;24;13

Lindsey

I think the pride that comes with the one time you succeed outweighs any of the failure.


09;50;23;28 - 09;50;07;23

Jon

Well, yeah, we're talking about cultivating a relationship with failure that's healthy. Right. And there's a few schools of thought. There are some people who won't even use the word failure if a kid messes something up and. Depends on the context, I get it right, because the word can have such a negative connotation that can rob from the


09;50;07;23 - 09;49;59;15

Jon

lessons learned. I, you and I take more the approach of you failed. So what? You know you failed. What did you learn? What are you going to do differently? Let's try now.


09;49;59;11 - 09;49;38;12

Lindsey

But that's asking and and cultivating thought provoking questions which really matter when you start to question, not question somebody else, like interrogate somebody else, but you start to question and kind of pull on their thought process. I mean, we've had endless amount of stories of like, Well, what did you do that for?


09;49;37;18 - 09;49;25;17

Lindsey

And then they go, Well, I don't know, and you go, OK, well, what were you thinking when you did it? And then they kind of go through that and it's like, Yeah, well, how could you have done that differently so you could avoid X, Y and Z?


09;49;24;27 - 09;49;05;19

Lindsey

So I think that really getting down to how do we start to ask more thought provoking questions instead of just like. Why this, why that it's OK, I see how you did that, right, because then you're encouraging them and then you can say, are there other ways that that could be done?


09;49;05;18 - 09;48;47;19

Lindsey

Do you see other options that would work with that? And if they say no, then and if if whatever they created works, that's awesome. But if they say no and it didn't work, then it's like, OK, well, let's go back to the drawing board and I'll see if I can come alongside you or give you tools to


09;48;47;19 - 09;48;42;10

Lindsey

be able to look that up so that you can, you know, pull from someone who has the expertize for that.


09;48;42;07 - 09;48;25;03

Jon

Well, we also ask questions like, OK, well, what worked for you? OK, and what didn't work for you, right? And helping them learn to analyze. And and I, you know, there's so much power in questioning and in pursuing more beautiful questions, which I think for me is how I think of with the love for learning, right?


09;48;24;18 - 09;48;08;02

Jon

Like if the kid tries, like if one of our kids or you try to do something, I try to do something in it in something doesn't work. You know, we're pursuing something impactful in trying. So then it's like, OK, well, why, what worked, what didn't and why and what could I do differently, right?


09;48;07;22 - 09;47;49;06

Jon

And like those types of questions, learning, teaching that framework to kids, practicing that framework for yourself. And then once you answer question, seeing if it's a cookie crumb on the path to a better question is like such a fun game to interact with.


09;47;49;01 - 09;47;48;19

Jon

Yeah.


09;47;48;09 - 09;47;36;28

Lindsey

And sometimes it's just to get them kicked off right to get them thinking outside of their their box that they were just in. It's like, OK, well, if we step on this side of the line, what do you see?


09;47;36;05 - 09;47;35;23

Lindsey

You know.


09;47;34;24 - 09;47;24;10

Jon

And I think there's also power in bringing them along with your work. Right? Like, I'm I'm doing a lot of work on our episodes right now to get transcripts made and to get that all onto our website and do stuff like that.


09;47;23;29 - 09;47;08;22

Jon

Well, last night I had. two of our sons at different times up in my lap helping me and I was explaining what I was doing, click by click and they're fascinated. They just want to know. Like one of the things I think as a parent or as a coworker, as a friend is, it can become very frustrating


09;47;08;22 - 09;46;48;14

Jon

to answer questions, especially if you're working or especially if you're going some and there's times you do have to protect your focus. But there's something I constantly temper myself to do my best to answer questions well or to feed them back to your point, maybe not provide the answer, and it may be more appropriate to ask them


09;46;48;14 - 09;46;37;17

Jon

a question return and be OK. I hear your question. Let's see if you can figure it out. What do you think about this? Right. But that requires patience and intentionality. It does. I often lack and have to really focus on.


09;46;35;00 - 09;46;33;24

Jon

But I think there's value in that.


09;46;33;15 - 09;46;12;26

Lindsey

I do I think there's immense value in that, and that is kind of something you have to be patient with yourself in this process. It's a it's a never ending process. If you really are wanting to pursue the path of a love of learning and being patient with yourself and with those around you is one of the


09;46;12;17 - 09;46;03;26

Lindsey

the best things you could do. I also really believe that once you start this path, it's hard to walk away from it.

 

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