To learn … or not!

The late Leo Buscaglia was a fascinating speaker and writer. In one if his talks, he made the statement that “We cannot teach what we have not learned.”

Considering the amount of people I have met that would fit “the blind leading the blind” phrase, it is worth dwelling on. In its most obvious form, we cannot teach a foreign language if we don’t understand it.  Teaching nuclear physics is also a non-starter for most of us. Leo, however, went much deeper than that because his expertise was in encouraging us  to be better humans, and his reason for making that statement was in the context of love. If you have never felt love, then you can never teach it effectively. Likewise if you have never had a long term friendship, then you cannot teach the values of such a relationship. Theory can only take us so far,. and then experience is needed.

“You cannot teach what you have not learned.” It is an interesting thought to dwell on because many of us do not learn too well.

A long time ago now, I started following a quite new Blog which was dog related. Within a week or two of following, the Blog owner wrote a Post explaining a dilemma that they were having with their dog, and what they were contemplating doing to resolve it.. The basis for the Post was an invitation for readers to offer their thoughts. I was concerned at what they were contemplating, and offered a far more amiable solution.

Over the course of a few days, that Post had received comments from (I believe) 8 people, all of which  offered the same solutions as me. Nobody had offered support for what they (the dog owners) were planning. About a week later, a Post was published which thanked us all for our input, but they  were going to proceed as originally planned!

I commented against that later Post that I had a real problem with anybody who asks for input and then totally ignores it, especially when all the input was consistent.   I explained that I have a real problem when somebody wastes my time and, while I do not expect my opinion to always rule, I do expect  the  consistent responses in this scenario to at least trigger more thought into the dilemma.  To get 8 responses against what they were proposing, and none for it ….. but go with the original plan anyway? Around 6 months later, I went looking for that site to see whether anything had changed, and it had. The Blog had apparently been closed down by its owner.

So how does that Blog and Leo Buscaglia come together? Well, given that you cannot teach what you have not learned, then one could deduce that learning is a good thing. It certainly makes each of us of more use to others as our education expands. The owners of that Blog are a great example  of not learning, in that they proposed an idea … but it would seem only wanted confirmations that it was a sound plan. Any input that contradicted their thinking was simply rejected.

This scenario seems to be adequately summed up by “We learn nothing if we only listen to ourselves.” I think Leo would  have liked that thought, especially as it originated from one of his quotes!

Food for thought.


29 thoughts on “To learn … or not!

  1. When I worked for a Swedish based international company years ago, a common refrain was “you don’t know what you don’t know.” Working there provided me with a template to examine cultures of the world from a much wider perspective than simply through my own limited experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just an extra thought. I did have to smile at the “You cannot teach what you have not learned.’ quote. I do believe I have heard that before from you. I think it may have been about me teaching English perhaps. LOL! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Can’t go wrong with Buscalgia!

    I think we all have met people like the blogger you described. Its one thing to not take unsolicited advice but when asking that puts a different slant on things. You would think one would be more open when asking , but I think its that they aren’t looking for advice just wanting affirnation, a pat on the back for what they want to do. If you don’t “pat” them, than they walk away, not caring about what you said.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If you ask for my honest opinion, that’s what you’ll get. The shortest version of it. If you express interest in it and want me to elaborate, I’ll gladly do so. But as you said, people usually want affirmation and simply ignore you if you disagree. So it’s OK to disagree, but don’t expend too much time or effort, at least not at first. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I attended a dog psychology course about 16 years ago (we still had Barney) and the woman taking it was amazing. She practiced what she preached and showed us a film clip of her in Japan teaching retrievers to respond to hand signals due to the language differences. She had them responding to them all within 30 minutes.
    I’ve never forgotten what she said about recall, that the dog has to want to be with you to respond, be it with a reward, treat or simply praise and fuss. At her suggestion, one attendee brought her dog into class as she was having a problem socialising it with people. For half of the class, the dog had her head on my knee and didn’t budge.
    Every dog is different and what works for one won’t necessarily work for another, but as you found with Ray, repetition and reward paid off along with patience, trial and error, and most importantly, love, trust and respect. If we’ve spoken to anyone who say they’ve had a problem similar to anything we encountered with Maggie, we’ve mentioned what worked for us, and in some instances it worked for them too.
    I’m no expert, but as for the blogger in your post and their intention, IMO that wouldn’t solve anything as the dog would respond to the new trainer, not the owner. Maybe that was the problem, the owner expected immediate results without getting to know her dog or letting it get to know and trust her as she began the training. You don’t get anything back unless you put a lot in to start with, then the rewards are off the charts. Just my opinion.
    Sorry for the lengthy response. Keep well and safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always nice to hear from you Di. The trainers that we have met, have all said that they would refuse to train a dog unless the owner was present.Their perspective is that they are really training the owner to work with the dog, and when the owner puts in the time and effort, they get a bonus …bonding with their dog. I guess the people who think that you just send it away somewhere and it comes back fully trained, are probably the same people who get rid of their dog because it’s no longer a “cute puppy”.


  6. I have found that often when people as for your opinion they only want affirmation of their own. I worked in design for 10 years and I would gladly offer comments free to friends when they asked (only if they asked!). I can’t remember any taking my advice. They often proceeded with what they originally intended with disastrous results. After a few round I found that it’s not worth the effort.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well it’s really not worth it with some individuals is it. We quickly learn who really wants our input, and who are simply looking for some odd affirmation. To me, it’s similar to being asked what I think about .. (clothing, decorating etc), my response now is “It doesn’t really matter what I think, but what do you think? If you are happy with it, that’s all that matters.” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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