I am normally a pretty good student if you look at my grades. A 4.0 while working full-time and taking 3 graduate level classes in a semester isn’t bad, eh? I at least knew how to read professors and figure out what they wanted so I could write my paper and take the test to please them.
Being a learner is different than being a student, I think. In attempting to learn the language of Cambodia I can not expect to have the language pushed into my brain. I need to be proactive and pull the language in. This requires much more effort and initiative on my part. I have to be curious and inquisitive. Do they always use this word this way? How do you say this word or phrase that may not be in the lesson plan but is important to my life? For example, I love the Cambodian-style iced coffee and instead of ordering it in English at our routine cafe, I decided to bumble my way through asking how to say it in Khmer. And now I can! I have found being a learner also means stepping out and trying new and very uncomfortable things. I don’t like trying to tell a story in Khmer when my vocabulary is so limited, but instead of just sticking with what I know I am trying to explore new areas and have fun with the experience.
I think being a learner applies to more than just the study of language. Do you have a curiosity for the world that God has created and attempt to find out new things, or do you wait (like I normally have) for someone to decide to teach it to you? How do you approach God’s Word? Do you come to it with a thirst for understanding the depths and riches of our awesome God, or is it just based on acquiring more knowledge? As learners we should not be content to just put in facts, but rather live them and get out of our comfort zone in an attempt to follow the things that God has commanded. We should never stop in our role of learner, and I am ever so slowly coming to understand all that this means for me.
Khmer looks a lot like Thai. I'm jealous of your language learning opportunities. Bah, I have to work in English all day every day, and getting a chance to speak Bahasa is far too rare.
Keep it up!