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Learning is the Thing for You

I told students, when I learned something new, I was going home to tell my wife. I unsure they believed me, but, often, I would go home and tell Kathy what I had learned or a particular frustration from the day. Often, the latter led to learning.

T. H. White, in this excerpt from The Once and Future King, suggests learning is a universal solvent for what ails us at any given moment. It distracts us from worrisome, sad, and fearful things focuses on something right here in the present moment. It occupies our minds, fills our bodies, and feeds the soul of our being.

“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlyn… “is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss you only love, you may see the world around you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honor trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then–to learn. Learn why the world ways and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured, never fear or distrust, and never dream regretting. Learning is the thing for you.”


About ivonprefontaine

In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms. I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders. I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs. I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry. I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry. I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.

14 responses »

  1. Catherine Johnson

    Wow, that is fascinating! Thanks for the enlightenment, Ivan.

  2. In all honesty this is why I look for people like you to read. Learning for me is the ‘bread of life’ .Thanks for providing provocative, interesting, entertaining things to fill my mind. Without it I might have to turn on the TV!

    • Thank you Marie. I appreciate the wonderful comment. Your last line echoes a post I saw this morning by Groucho Marx who said something like TV is educational as he left the room and read a book every time one was turned on.

  3. It really is the only purpose in life.
    We sail the same boat, Ivon. I feel proud and grateful..
    Happy Thursday,

  4. Good sound advice. I learned something today. 🙂

  5. Wow, just what I needed to be reminded of. Thank you, with hugs….

  6. MisBehaved Woman

    This is awesome; thank you!

    • You are welcome. I am glad you enjoyed it.

      • MisBehaved Woman

        My dad is in depositions for his mesothelioma case today; father-in-law is undergoing surgery today. If ever there was a time to settle in and learn something instead of stressing, today was it. This was a real blessing…seriously.

      • As we age, so do our parents and those around us. My mom is 90 and in failing health. My mother-in-law is a bit younger, but the same issue. It is, as you say, a blessing when something comes into our days that healthily focus us.

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