Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I n t r i n s i c

Friday, June 24, 2011 at 11:25pm
I remember my dad once told me about intrinsic motivation. That's what inspired this note. For most people, and for most of our lives, we are taught to learn what we are SUPPOSED to learn. How many of us actually have the passion for the things we are learning?

Wouldn't it make a huge lot of difference if people were truly interested about the things they learn? How can we cultivate that intrinsic drive?

I now realize that for a long time, my parents have grounded in me a form of self-learning. From the time I was homeschooled, really, I was on my own when it came to learning. After a while, I realized that I'm not just learning for the sake of learning. I'm learning because I truly want to learn. I'm learning not simply by someone telling me what to do, what to write or think, but by digging things up myself, and uncovering hidden treasures by being creative, by writing, by composing music and poems of my own.

I think too many kids nowadays have teachers who don't care less whether they excel or just scrape through a pass. I see many young people nowadays not making full use of their youth and their brilliant minds and talents because no one is investing the time and imparting the right values and wisdom into their lives.

That's obviously why a lot of young people these days see no point in learning. There is no in-built motivation, there is no thirst for true knowledge. Even if people DO study, it is only for the sake of passing exams and 'getting a good score' or 'straight A's'. Just so you can get into uni, pass more exams, obtain a decent degree, and get a good job. Just so that you can earn money, pay the bills, buy a house and car, feed the family. And then what. Is that truly the point of learning?

I beg to differ!

I've thought about it. Awhile ago I've realized that these days, we waste a lot of time at school. Seriously, if everyone spent more time READING and writing and thinking, the world would be a much better place. Also, if everyone were given the chance to be creative, to compose, to write, to make music, life would be so much more fulfilling!

The problem is so many kids do not have such opportunities and even if they did, often the teachers do not truly care for these young people. Of course, there ARE the blessed few who DO care and who go past the ordinary level of doling out boring ol' theories and formulas and the usual things you have to learn to 'pass an exam' these days.

How many teachers have you had who have inspired you? Has anyone recognized a potential in you that had not yet surfaced at the time and he or she took time to draw it out? Has anyone gone past the level of ordinary, impersonal teaching to cultivate in you the intrinsic desire to learn and think as a unique & creative individual?

I think back, and I'm thankful to God for sending me three teachers who have impacted my life, my thinking, and my creative streak. The first two are my dad and mom! The most important thing they ever taught me to seek for myself, which cultivated in me an intrinsic drive, is God. To trust only in Him. They instilled in me the incessant reminder to pursue the things of God and to seek out the Truth. Without this, all the knowledge we have, all the experience and opportunities we may acquire, is pretty much meaningless!

C.S. Lewis said, 'I believe in God as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.'

That pretty much sums up my own convictions. If you haven't got the thing that matters most at the center, the core of your being, then everything else can be thrown out the window! Because you're pretty much hanging on to all these other things, but walking about blind.

So yes, back to intrinsic motivation. The other teacher who really made an impact on my musical side is the piano teacher God blessed me with during my first year in Melbourne. Sandra Birze. She was one of those teachers you see in those inspirational movies. I was the hopeless kid. Seriously, I actually knew nuts about music. I was playing the notes, but I lacked technique, I lacked feeling, I lacked understanding. I can't say I have acquired all this by now, but that one year I had with her sure did open my eyes to all these aspects of music that I've been missing out on. I didn't have the opportunities before to grow in such a way. Now God answered the prayer I've been praying since 14 and I was going to seize the opportunity he was giving me!

A true teacher isn't just one who imparts knowledge and leave it at that. A genuine teacher with a heart is one who teaches in such a way that the student is inspired to LEARN FOR HIMSELF. So even when the teacher is gone, you can bet that the student will still be traversing that extra mile to uncover the hidden treasures for himself and make his own unique interpretations and works.

I aspire to be that kind of a teacher. And a teacher who truly teaches is one who also truly learns.

Carpe diem,

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