BELLE GLADE, Fla. – A short while ago I was speaking to a good friend while commuting home from work. We began sharing stories of being a young-professional in the field of education, including the joys and struggles of serving others. While she was sharing her struggles in her personal life, she was reassuring herself (In the same conversation) with comments that we’ve all heard a ton of times in our lives. Those comments included:
- “I know it’s okay to not be okay”
- “I know my emotions matter”
- “I know I matter”
It was almost as if she was trying to convince herself that those words, the same words we heard so many times, were true. At that moment, a thought came into my mind…”What if we never really learned those words, but just memorized them?” What if we memorized those words to get out of a difficult situation in which we were sharing our feelings, or a time we felt down?
I encourage you to think back at your youth, if you’re not currently in that stage of your life. Do you feel as if you truly remember all you learned in school? Well, it is assumed that at one point we all passed exams in order to graduate from school, based on that specific material that you don’t remember. The answer to why you don’t remember? We most likely memorized the information to pass an exam, rather than commit the material to our own understanding. I began to ask myself if youth I have been given the privilege to serve leave our encounters with genuine knowledge gain, or simply memorizing key phrases and concepts to receive positive reinforcement.
With that said, I began to look into studies and research showing key differences between Learning and Memorizing, and created Learning vs. Memorizing with the help from Dartmouth College and the University of Central Florida to ensure youth we impact are learning, rather than just memorizing.
Regardless of which level of involvement a youth may have with 4-H, or amount of time a volunteer spends serving 4-H, it is important that a youth learns the overarching themes and lessons beyond their involvement, such as belonging, independence, mastery, and generosity. Likewise, it is a goal for volunteers to truly learn proper youth safety and development concepts.
Ultimately, it is a personal mission for youth to leave their time in Palm Beach County 4-H having learned that there is always someone that thinks of, cares for, and is there for them in the times that they don’t necessarily feel it or see it around them. We all have something to contribute, because after all…
“When one teaches, two learn.” – Robert Heinlein
If interested in continuing the conversation, please don’t hesitate to contact Daniel Gonzalez at Dgonzalez@pbcgov.org or at (561) 996-1656.