Monday, 28 December 2009

Raising Independent Thinkers and

I've been thinking a lot about teaching, and how to bring up kids are passionate about their own reading and learning. Today while I was reading the Book of Mormon I reflected on this again. I read about Lehi's vision and all he learned from his vision. Nephi was so touched by this he wanted to have the same experience. He then goes and prays and has the same vision and is taught the meaning of it all. Right after he experiences this he goes to his father's tent and finds his brothers are fighting. He tries to help stop the fight, and ends up telling them all the great things he's learned (1 Nephi 15). It must have been quite an experience for Nephi to learn all this. He actually ends up spoon-feeding his brother by telling them everything about the dream and what it all means. Their response must have been disappointing. They said what he'd told them was hard to take, and they were even angry with him!

Why did Nephi go pray and gain understanding on his own?
And why was it his brothers just couldn't get it and wouldn't do that on their own?

It's interesting too thatright after that they get the Liahona (1 Nephi 16). It's as if the Lord was trying so hard to get them to hear him and learn from him.....he gave them something that would absolutely tell them where to go.

Gospel says:

(1 Ne 10:17) I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and
know of these things

One of the reasons Nephi was privileged to see
the things that he did is that he had a great desire to know the things of the
Lord. The Lord blesses us according to our desires (Alma 29:4). Another prophet
who was blessed with visions of heavenly glory based on his faith and desires
for righteousness was Abraham. Although raised by an idolatrous father, Abraham
desired to be a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed
great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a
greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and
desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became
a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers
(Abraham 1:2). Paul emphasized the other important component which was Abraham’s
exercise of great faith, For the promise, that he should be the heir of the
world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the
righteousness of faith (Romans 4:13). Thus, we see that faith and desire open
the heavens to those who diligently seek the Lord.

Bruce R. McConkie:
“The Holy Ghost, as Nephi expresses it in a passage
of superlative meaning and beauty, ‘is the gift of God unto all those who
diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should
manifest himself unto the children of men. For he is the same yesterday, today,
and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the
world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him. For he that diligently
seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the
power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well
in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one
eternal round.’(1 Nephi 10:17-19.) In harmony with these words of transcendent
beauty are those of latter-day revelation that say simply to every member of the
Church: ‘God shall give unto you knowledge by his Holy Spirit, yea, by the
unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost.’ (D&C 121:26.) Such is the promise, and
the promise is sure. The sole need on the part of any individual is to comply
with the law that entitles him to receive the promised revelation.” (A New
Witness for the Articles of Faith, p. 489)

I would think that just giving the information isn't the best idea. Although, the Lord did, in effect, do that by giving them the Liahona. Perhaps sometimes it is appropriate.

How do you move from that to the next level though? How do you encourage, inspire, teach them to go and learn on their own?

In Lehi's vision he sees that some of his children are eager to taste of the fruit of the tree, but others don't care to. Is it that some of us are just more apt to follow and taste the fruit for ourself? Or is there something that can be done to cause them to want to tase it? It seems clear to me that no explanations can ever replace experience.

1 comment:

Nana said...

I think the Liahona was not exactly spoon feeding them the information, but was a tool for giving them instant feedback on their decisions. I guess the point where the brothers were was that - they needed instant feedback. It could have made them want to find the information for themselves. It just didn't. Regretfully, the learning process is such that the student has to exercise some free agency - the teacher can't "teach" a person to be an independent learner. The teacher can "factilitate" the process, but the student has to grab hold.