The Social Learning Theory basically suggests that people learn by watching other people do things. Typically, we observe and imitate others’ behaviors. This is seen with in almost every facet of society, from adults at a bar for the first time to toddlers in the toy kitchen.
But what do we do when there are people who can be in the same room as other people or even be very physically close to them and not notice them at all? What do we do when there are people who have to be taught how to observe behaviors? Why do we feel like we have to teach them to be like us?
Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to spend a significant amount of time with people on the autism spectrum. A few of them are labeled as “non-verbal” so my definition of communication has been stretched more than I thought possible. I’ve had to learn to understand what that longing look means. It has taken work to figure out why they smile when they hear certain sounds.
It is interesting how much external motivation plays a role in our everyday behaviors. I never realized that until I wanted to motivate a child who didn’t notice me in the room. It left me frustrated at the beginning until I reevaluated the situations. After changing my perception and my focus, I gained an appreciation for their ability to completely escape whenever they want to. I learned to be comfortable when they distanced themselves when they were only sitting a foot away.
In reality, I wasn’t frustrated because the kids didn’t listen. I was frustrated because I wish I could live in a world where no one could influence me to do or be something I didn’t want to do or be.
So many times I have done and said things or NOT done or said things because of the social implications of being rude for not speaking or for speaking.
I’m the educator and I have been all of my post pubescent life. I always learn from my babies. So, I’m taking a page from my newest children. I will do what I want. I will not do what I don’t want, regardless of social implications.
I had a conversation recently and while we were talking, I immediately felt more peace. Because in that moment, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper to me “It was never just about you.”
That was an insanely profound moment for me. One of my repeated prayers has been to just understand the purpose for some of the things I have dealt with. I’ve let the scripture replay in my mind that “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” But I lived in a constant place of wondering “Where is the good?”
Then suddenly, after a decade of asking, I received and experienced the purpose. In that moment, a life of pain and 10 years of prayers made sense for me. It all made sense when I understood that the situations were never about me.
I can’t get my time back and I actually don’t want it. I have my peace and I have made a difference.
I started writing because I was going through things that I did not know how to express. Somehow, though, when I put my pen to the paper I was suddenly articulate. Something about writing for an audience made me remember that I wasn’t alone in my suffering. Something about writing for an audience made it all worth it.
I didn’t want anybody to know there was a problem, but the only way to deal with the problem was to tell somebody. When I started writing, it forced me to find the lesson. When I found the lesson, it made the pain make sense. Sorta…
So I write to expose the wound
To clean the wound
To let it breathe
So it doesn’t get infected
and cause unnecessary sickness
So that I can remember that I’m not
the only one in this
And I get to look back and see
That I’ve been through this before a time or two or three
Apparently, I’m pretty flexible compared to other people. I learned this because i tried bikram yoga and the instructor commented on it a couple times. Then when I started crossfit, the first night the coach asked me if I had an athletic background because of my flexibility. He complimented me on it every session for the first two weeks.
I never would have been awakened to that talent if i wasn’t willing to try something.
There is so much in you waiting to be released, but it’s lying dormant because you’re afraid to be adventurous.
Jesus tells us to come to Him as a child. As a person who has worked with children of all ages I have an interesting understanding of what that means. One meaning is put this way by Bill Johnson “Embrace the adventure.” Because children haven’t had enough experiences to get bored with life they look at each day as day to discover something new about the world. They approach each day with new questions. They are fully aware that they don’t know everything and that doesn’t bring them a sense of shame. As a result, they’re always in a position to learn something new.
Your journey with Christ is to be an ever evolving lifelong adventure. Ask questions. Try new different things. Step out into new territory and conquer it. The world is waiting for you discover who you really are.
If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it. (Luke 17:33 NLT)
One summer day in 2006, I was walking around my neighborhood. Some guys called me over to their car to ask me a question. I walked near the car to hear what they were saying. I had my phone in my hand (remember this was 2006 before snatching phones was really a thing) and the one in the passenger’s seat grabbed it and they sped off. Unfortunately, I was still holding on to it. So I was dragged for a few seconds until holding on was no longer possible. I stood up and I was kinda dazed. I touched the side of my head and pulled out a chunk of hair. I walked over to the first person I saw. Although it was in the middle of day and they had been outside the entire time, they hadn’t even seen the whole ordeal because it happened so quickly. They let me in and I called my parents. Within minutes, my dad was there to pick me up. When I got home, my mom told me not to worry about anything. First, because I was safe and it was just a phone. Second, coincidentally she had just ordered new phones for all of us and my new one was already on the way. It was going to be a surprise.
Sometimes, you can just be walking around and minding your business when someone or something comes along and completely disrupts your life. You have a choice to keep holding on, be dragged along and risk losing your belongings or you can just let your old life go.
Remember, my mom already had a replacement on the way. What are you blocking from coming into your life because you won’t let the old one go?
The major point I’m making here is that eventually you’re going to lose it any way. Save yourself some time. Save yourself some pain. Be like Elsa and let it go.