The notebooks and baby bottles

Midterms are over and the semester is nearly at its end. Term papers are almost due and final exams are keeping us cooped up in the library, pouring over a mound of information. Just when we think our brains can't possibly retain another fact, it might be refreshing to examine what is being demanded of our children right now.

If we have infants, they are learning how to kick, crawl and grasp with their little fingers. Maybe they even manage to get a cracker from their hands into their mouths. Their world is a constant learning environment. From the moment their eyes open to the time they close, they are trying new things that we take for granted everyday.         

Our toddlers are learning to walk, not to touch things that are hot, not to slam their fingers in doors and that they must share their toys. While their life seems simple to you when all you see is that they eat, sleep and play all day, we forget that each day presents new learning situations that are really exhausting challenges.

A preschool-age child is usually being bombarded with questions such as, "What color is this?" "How many fingers do you have?" or "Can you sing your alphabet?" Then, when they finally learn the basics of how the world works and how to manipulate it, they have to learn details.

From elementary through high school, our children use these skills to learn more about the world, to socialize within it and to learn who they are as individuals. Learning their own identity takes at least four years and could be far more difficult than any college course.

When we look at our children moving through the phases of life, and learning constantly, we should realize that college has to be one of the easier times of our life. We already know what is expected of us and how to manipulate and understand the world. We should have a pretty good understanding of who we are by now. Every day is really an open-book exam to perfect what we've learned throughout our lives.         

So if you get to the point in the next few weeks where you feel you couldn't possibly cram another fact into your head, take a good, long look at your kids. Remember that you are merely rewording what you've learned throughout your life.