Never Reprimand a Learner

Photo Courtesy of: Glin Pittman

Photo Courtesy of: Glin Pittman

When I was attending supervisor training while working for the State of Alaska I remember during one session we learned that you should never reprimand a learner.

During the training it was explained that you should never hold someone accountable for what they don’t know.

For example, if you learn that an employee doesn’t know something then you should take the time out to provide them with proper training as opposed to reprimanding them for not knowing that which you have failed to train them.

I think this applies in life. I have noticed that many people often get upset with ourselves for what we don’t know.

We often get mad that we didn’t know how to do something differently but we need to accept that God knows what we know and what we don’t know.

We are all just here learning and discovering things about ourselves.

As Maya Angelou famously said “When you know better, do better”

But when you come to the knowing of how to do better do not beat yourself up for what you didn’t know in the past.

I believe life is a series of steps constantly ushering us forth to the next level of our life.

A reasonably minded person wouldn’t get mad at a child in 1st grade for not being able to perform math at a 3rd grade level. I mean how could someone expect them to know something they don’t know?

And yet we get mad at ourselves for not knowing what we have never been taught.

Furthermore, as I was explaining to one of my friends, we all have different learning styles. That is why you need to keep your eye on your path and not look over for the purpose of comparing your progress to that of others.

For some of us excel quickly and are able to skip a grade. Some of us need to attend special education programs specifically structured to meet our needs. Many of us learn at what is considered a normal pace and we progress at the average speed of others. There are times when we struggle in a certain course and may need to repeat it.Or we may be placed at a higher level only to realize that we need to go back and relearn the basics to receive a better foundation.

But we are all learning!

And we can’t get mad that some of us learn quicker or slower than others. For here on this earth we are all simply learning. And it isn’t about how you learn, it is about did you learn.

And yet, the fact that some of us learn slower than others isn’t ever an excuse to become or remain idle.

We should always be about forward progress.

Realize that God knows what you know and what you don’t know. And He has allowed life to present you with the exact people, situations, locations, timing, and resources for you to learn the lessons that you need to learn to move to the next level.

As Iyanla Vanzant once said “You are always on the right path, you may be mismanaging it, but you are always on the right path.”

You see, God knew that you didn’t have the relationship skills to keep that romantic relationship going. And He knew that you didn’t know how to be a better friend in that platonic relationship. You are no surprise to God!

When relationships come to a close it isn’t because you are a horrible person that is destined to be alone or that all people are evil and you need to become a recluse. It simply wasn’t your lot in life to stay in that specific relationship. I say “stay” because life goes in cycles. Sometimes we need to grow and then we can reconnect with others. And sometimes we grow and realize we never need to reconnect again.

So when relationships (be they business, romantic or platonic) come to a close learn to appreciate the experience and accept that it was your lot in life to learn and grow through it. You are to take the lessons learned in that relationship and apply it to your future interactions with people. You are learning what works and doesn’t work. You are learning what to look for and what not to look for.

Some people exit relationships and think that was so horrible I am never trying this again.

That is the wrong attitude.

Lick your wounds, learn how to become the best version of yourself, become wiser in your selection process and then do the best you know how in your next relationship.

Perhaps you applied for a job but did not know how to successfully land the interview. The process wasn’t for you to get that particular job at that exact occasion.

No, it was most likely for you to learn how to interview better so when the correct opportunity comes along you will be best prepared. Or maybe it was so that the interview panel could recognize you were better suited for another position. And just maybe it was for you to realize that you could do better than work for the company in which you were applying. There is a multitude of reasons why things do not go the way that you would like and none of which are reasons you should beat yourself up for.

Needing to improve doesn’t mean you are worthless!

When you are given an opportunity to oversee finances and you mismanage them,the goal is not to walk away saying I am bad with money. You are to learn to become a better steward.

While parenting you will make mistakes (we all do) don’t throw your hands up and say “Oh well I am a horrible mother/father I give up”.

No, you should recognize the mistakes you make as a parent and try to learn how to become a better parent.

My children can attest to the fact that I have made loads of mistakes, but they will also be the first to say I have become a better mother over the years. The purpose is to learn how to be a better parent and in essence a better you.

Sometimes we learn that we are not treating our bodies well. The purpose for the information isn’t to be mad at ourselves for eating foods that we didn’t know were not the best for our bodies and it isn’t for us to say “Oh well, I been eating like this for years why give up now?”.

No, the purpose is for us to learn that from that point on we need to make attempts to do better.

I am all about personal responsibility. But I do not believe that people should take responsibility for things that they are not responsible for.

Stop beating yourself up for what you didn’t know and remember to never reprimand a learner. Love yourself enough to live a life of balance. If you act out of ignorance and come to the knowing of your mistake then take the steps to make corrections but do not look down on yourself because ‘old you’ didn’t know any better. Alternatively, if you know better and continue to act contrary then you need to make corrections, forgive yourself and let it go.

In essence if you are beating yourself up over past mistakes please stop and move forward.

Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman, Renata Nicole and RenataNicole, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

5 thoughts on “Never Reprimand a Learner

  1. Starla says:

    Awesome read. I totally agree. I am one who kicks myself for what I dont know. It’s always seems like common sense when I learn so I get frustrated that I didnt think of it myself. But whrn you’re on that level it is common sense…..but only once you’ve learned. So I will be more mindful to stop kicking myself. LET THE SLACK CUTTING BEGIN! within reason of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are a great writer, and you explain everything so clearly, I like your writing style.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Donald Thomas says:

    Very insightful and delightful to read.
    Truly demanded me to do a self examination! !!
    Loved it.!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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