30 August, 2012

My Eyes on the Prize

Friday, August 17, 2012

[Since you are writing on this prompt, I believe I should, too. I am sorry that I was late in getting started; however, I was looking for my blog and I have started several.  This one is the first I found.  So here is my response:]

Whenever I hear the phrase "Eyes on the Prize," my mind rushes back about 20+ years ago to the summer term here at Davidson County Community College.  I was teaching ENG 113, a research/library course and I had chosen for the focus of this course the 1960s.  A significant part of my course was to show the PBS series, "Eyes on the Prize" which was exploring the American civil rights struggle from post WWII forward.

However, this prompt is asking me about my "prize": what is it that is my motivation.  For me, the answer is simple: I am motivated to get up every day so I can learn something new.

I know what you are thinking: "You are saying this for us students; you want us to think about this issue." And you are dead wrong.  I do not expect you to have the same motivations I have.  I have reflected on my motivation to learn.  When did it start?  How did it evolve?

The first event that I can recall is a time when my brother and I were in Cub Scouts.  I was in fifth grade and my brother is about 16 months younger than I am.  We were at the "hut" where the scouts meet once a month for the "big" meeting. And my brother came out of the bathroom laughing.  I asked him what was so funny and he reported something that I thought would explode my brain: he was laughing because of a phrase he had seen on the bathroom wall: "F*** a Duck."

Why do I return to this event for the genesis of my motivation being learning?  I believe it is because this is the first time I believe I was conscious of my own thinking.  I vividly recall how incensed I was that my brother was using THAT word and was laughing about it!  I was fearful about the implications if my parents heard him saying it: I would be blamed for teaching him this word.  And this was "THE" word; it was imbued with an unbelievable amount of power.  It was one of the words that could not be said on radio or TV.  And my brother was making a joke of it!

For the rest of my life--after that event--I have been consumed with learning stuff.  Whether it is what I learned formally in school--I have been in school since 1971 except for two years when I sold shoes for Thom McCan--or learned informally--through conversations with others or through reading or through accessing the world wide web.  Learning is my heart and soul.  I did not make me rich in my pocket book, but it certainly has enriched my life.