Wednesday, September 18, 2013

This Ol' Dog Loves Learning New Tricks

You learn something new every day....
I believe that to be true!

You can't teach an old dog new tricks...
Hey....I take offense to that!

I just spent two days in a training session at Holmes Community College. It was a course on "training the trainer," aka "how to teach adult learners." It came just in time, as I'm about to teach a course in business writing to a group of electrical engineers.

Back when I was in school, there were classes I was required to take, but hated, because I believed I'd never use them. Like Spanish. (I married a Venezuelan!) And Algebra. (OK, haven't found a use for that one yet.) Thankfully, I didn't feel that way about creative writing. I liked it then, and I like it now. And lucky for me, it's how I make my living.

When my son, a student at Millsaps, stresses over writing a paper, I tell him that most of the articles I write for newspapers and magazines are no different from what he is doing. I have to do research, gather facts, and write them in a cohesive manner so that they make sense to the reader. The key is to always have the reader in mind. I've told him about Anne Lamott's book,"Bird by Bird."    If you're not familiar with it, read about it here. You just have to start, and tackle whatever your project may be, one step at a time.

As I sat in the classroom the past couple of days, I thought back to my days in college, when most of my thoughts centered on when I'd finally get out of class. How I wish I could have a "do over," and really absorb the knowledge that was being poured over me.

The truth is, I've passed the double-nickle mark, officially putting me in my late fifties, or "old dog" status. And I've learned that this old dog loves to learn new tricks. (I often follow learning anything new with saying "God, how I wish I had known this 30 years ago!") And I look forward to teaching other old dogs some of my time-worn tricks on how to write a more effective letter, email or memo.

There's nothing new under the sun...
Unless you've never heard it before!

Shine! Be brilliant today!


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