Sunday 13 March 2022

Lent Reflections #2 - Learning Graciously

Last week I was thinking about looking again, this week, my thoughts have turned to learning graciously

I'm a teacher - teaching has been part of my life for years [even before I was a professional, in schools, I was teaching in Sunday School, and working with children in Holiday Clubs etc] But it does me good to remember that even a teacher can be a learner

It is too easy to forget that learning is a lifelong process. It doesn't end when you leave formal education. I'm 67 next month, but there are still things I need to learn. Yesterday I was away at a training course with others from my church, learning about Child Protection, and Safeguarding. It is important to be gracious - not to say "I know all this, I have done this course before- and have even taught sessions like this". Sometimes we all need to revisit the lessons, and see if there is anything new to be learned. 

What things have I learned in recent months? Lots of new technology- Zoom, and preparing stuff for YouTube. That got forced upon many of us when lockdown arrived.

I have learned to use emojis better - this might seem trivial. The person who taught me how to use them in WhatsApp messages was Rosie! In the summer of 2020, when we were at Grandma's Nursery, I realised she knew how to insert sparkles and cascading hearts as she typed messages ot her Mum and Dad - a 3 year old doing something her Grandma couldn't. I had to ask her to teach me, and learn graciously and patiently. 

I continue to learn about gardening - the amazing joy of seeing the spinach, and lettuce and frilly red salad leaves in the raised bed  last Autumn continues! And again, I need to be gracious when my friends and family help me to learn how to improve my skills. [Thanks for all the advice re Kezzie's runner bean. More of my broad beans have germinated now]

I have struggled with obstinate pupils, both in academic subjects and practical lessons in crafts, when they say "I know this, you don't need to tell me what to do" - and then watch them make a real mess. 

Learning graciously to accept that I do not know everything, despite my advanced years is important. And being open to working at learning new skills is good for my brain and my body. As Rosie said to her cousin "George, this is Grandma. She is an old lady but she is useful" If I am to go on being useful, I have to be willing to learn.

I have great respect for the [really] old ladies I know who have got to grips with Skype and WhatsApp and Zoom during the pandemic, in order to be able to keep in touch with family. I know others who have had health issues which have restricted their activities- but they have graciously learned to develop a new lifestyle. Many have had to come to terms with learning to live alone, through bereavement, or other change in circumstances. 

Accepting these things with grace and not reluctance or resentment makes such a difference to the outcome. In Matthew 11:29 [The Message version] Jesus says

Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly



  1. Sometimes it's really hard to accept change. I like things to remain as I know them but it's just not possible to stay the same for ever. This is a beautiful post, Angela, thank you.
    I love Rosie's comment! When my Grandson was small I thanked him for helping me with something and he replied "that's ok, I like helping old people" I was in my early sixties at the time!

    1. Grandchildren think EVERYONE is old ! 🤣

  2. How lovely to know that despite your age, you are useful!!

  3. I love Rosie's comment. She is going to be as wise as her grandmother! I do agree that learning continues. It would be a boring life if we thought we knew it all. There is always so much more to find out. I agree, too, that we need not assume that we know everything about a subject even after years and years. I've never been to an Alpha course or Cursillo but if the occasion arises, it would be a good opportunity to learn more about Jesus.

  4. This is very true! We should definitely be gracious to accept learning.x

  5. Lovely post, Angela. I like the encouragement to be a life-long learner. I tend to be a very slow and somewhat reluctant learner when it comes to technology, but, my daughter has been a very patient teacher. Maybe, one day, if I am blessed to be a grandmother, my grandchild will think of me as being useful, too! :)

    1. Bless, I always think of you as someone who is patient, and generous - you have definitely learned to accept the changes in your life with grace. You have a great relationship with your daughter. You definitely embody William Morris' idea of "beautiful and useful"

    2. Thank you, Angela! That's one of the nicest things someone has ever said to me! :)


Always glad to hear from you - thanks for stopping by!
I am blocking anonymous comments now, due to excessive spam!