Monday, January 18, 2010

Lessons learned from the Sports World The Classroom

There is very little exciting to me about the thought of sitting in a classroom. Sitting still for long periods of time was never one of my strengths. I am sure some of you feel the same way.
Is it not a little crazy then that by the age of 22 we have spent the vast majority of our life (apart from sleep time....although I did some of that in the classroom too) in a classroom. Somehow those who shaped society decided this was a good way to pass knowledge to the next generation.
In reality the classroom, for all its pain, is neccesary.
For it is in the classroom that we get the opportunity to hear from some one who has a little more experience and expertise than us in a given area as they seek to pass what they know on to us. Thankfully these days we can get this through podcasts, webcasts, books and other more interactive learning situations so when I refer to classroom I mean this rather than the scarier version above.

For the athlete the classroom is important as it is the place where the coach reviews individual and team plays and teaches new plays. He will spend time helping the team understand where they went wrong and how to do it better the next time. This time and place is critical as it is here weaknesses will be addressed, solutions put forward, strengths will be reinforced. It is here that the team will grow together as they learn together. No player, no matter how good of a game they had at the weekend will be excused or excuse themselves from the classroom.

I am constantly reminded of how much I need to learn and how little I know.
It has not always been that way. When I was a teenager I was pretty much convinced I had life and wisdom wired. It was my parents and teachers that somehow had to enter the enlightened state that I had reached in regards to wisdom. In regards to my knowledge of the Bible I was in good shape - my siblings and I won the All Ireland Bible Knowledge competition. However all this changed. Sitting in a lecture in Bible College and hearing the Professor teach the deep truths of scripture opened my eyes and hearts to wonders I had never imagined - soon the feeling of knowing a lot shifted to a feeling of knowing so little and to how much there is still to be understood. There have been many more similar experiences since then. In fact a day never goes by that I am not aware of my lack of knowledge. This then helps to remind me of my need to continually look for ways to enter the classroom. To be a life long learner. Even the things I was 'taught' before need to be remembered and reinforced again and again. It would seem that I am prone to forget. It would seem that I also have a tendency to relapse into old ways. It would seem that my default button is very sensitive.

One of the sadder things that have I come across in life is people who have stopped learning and growing. They have never allowed themselves the opportunity to enter a 'classroom' situation since they left school. They have either allowed busyness to prevent them or maybe they never lost that teenage mindset of having reached the pinnacle of understanding. The result is the same - lack of growth. May that never be true of us but be careful of falling into the trap.

As Christ followers we need to put ourselves in 'classroom' situations so we can find ways to grow and live out our life more effectively for His glory. Let us never stop seeking wisdom and knowledge. Let us be like the righteous wise man who adds to their learning and the discerning man who looks for guidance.

Prov 1 v 5
let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance-

Prov 9 v 9
Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.

Classroom opportunities.
Books that will challenge your thinking and practices.
Team Development Time (Tuesday mornings) designed to help train us for what we do here.
Podcasts or online training - some gave me a link to 12 lectures on 'Justice' from Harvard Uni - very mind stretching.
Courses at your church.
Team meetings - ask the question at your next team meeting - 'How can I do this better?' and get others who watch you speak into your life.

What are some other ways that you can think of? The important thing is not the method but that you are stretching your mind, challenging your thinking and seeing growth.
Who are you allowing to be the teachers/coaches in your life these days?

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