Thursday, December 9, 2010

Remind Me Again

What does it mean to "learn" something? Does it mean you grasp the concept, remember it, apply it, master it . . . what? The reason I ask is because so often we tell ourselves (or others) that we've learned our lesson but then we go and do the same (or similar) mistakes all over again. Have we really "learned" it? I often wonder.

For instance, I've learned some very good things about relationships. Wise, insightful, solidly practical things. Or at least I thought I did cause I later act as if I hadn't. "I've learned my lesson," someone says "No more snacking after 8pm." Or maybe it's drinking coffee (or alcohol), dating someone new when you've just broken up with someone, speeding, or talking about someone behind their back. Whatever it is, we seem to have a problem with unlearning what we have learned. Or in it's shorter form "forgetting."

We are terribly forgetful people. In solution focused therapy, one of the main interventions is simply to ask "Was their ever a time that this problem wasn't there . . . or wasn't this bad?" Most people respond with a time. "What were you doing different?" Most people can say what it was they were doing that helped. "What's stopping you from doing that again?" is the final question. So often we know what works, we just stop doing it and we "forget" how we solved the problem in the past. Even if the solution was brilliant. We just need to be reminded.

I fins that I need to be reminded about several things I thought I knew. These include:
-Getting to get to sleep on time makes me less grouchy.
-Consistently spending time with God feeds my soul.
-Not having a to do list in front of me at work task hurts my efficiency.
-I need time away to keep my zest for life, ministry, and God.
-Date Nights/one on one's with my wife/kids makes me happy.
-Spending more money then I make makes me insecure.
-An hour after eating at McDonald's I will feel gross, so don't even bother.

I had a couple come in the other day and tell me that they firmly believed that for their relationship to keep on prospering they needed to see a counselor once every few months ("to check the engine") and go to at least one marriage retreat a year. Basically it was so that the could be reminded of what they had already learned. The worst thing we can do is think "Well, I've learned that now so I guess life just goes. Good for me." The discipline of regularly reminding oneself of the important things is perhaps the greatest discipline of all.

We're almost at the end of the year. What are the important things that you don't want to forget that you've learned. How can you plan your year in a way that you are reminded and inspired about them? I'm planning to use my calendar and block in a whole bunch of things that I know are important - reminder times. I'll let you know if it works!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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