One can learn from experiences of pain ending up seeing life in different way. Learning is a process of gaining knowledge through experiences. In the learning process pain is often necessary when it helps people to build strong personalities. In “Discovery,” Liann Sumner realized she took everything in her environment for granted without realizing how effective they are until she visited her home country, India. Sometimes one has to be in painful situation to learn the lesson.
Dick Gregory in “Shame” did not know the meaning of a word shame until the classroom incident where a teacher humiliated him in front of his classmates. Many learn by experiencing pain where as others learns by seeing someone’s sadness. In “I Ask My Mother to Sing,” Li-Young Lee feels pain in his heart when he hears his mother and grandmother singing and longing for their home country. As can be seen, pain can be the necessary ingredient in the process of learning only if it contributes to one’s success. Many can learn how to be grateful for small things through experiencing discomfort.
One way to give a valuable lesson is taking away things that are around and we do not even appreciate the presence of such as air, waster and public works. Without air creatures cannot even survive for five minutes. Air is free and essential to creatures’ lives, but we most time are not grateful for that. When tourist travel to undeveloped countries where public services such as traffic lights and pedestrian crosswalks are not provided as conveniently as in the States, they realize how helpful those are and those even secure their lives.
Sumner was shocked when she was going on a journey from the States to India that there is no pattern to the traffic. The dead Brahma bulls were on the side of the road, bus driver honking for an oncoming vehicle and pedestrians. “All my life, I had been blind to luxuries that I had taken for granted” (283). She was exposed to the cultural shock that surroundings did not comfort the citizens. As she learned how to appreciate neglected objects through out the journey, many can feel lucky to belong to a nation that took good care of citizens and ran things efficiently.
Another way to sense precious messages can be done by seeing others’ pain. Sometimes, understanding parents’ grief inspires their children. One would gradually benefit by hearing his/her parents’ experiences with places where s/he has never been. One can gain knowledge of a place by studying books, but that will only provide structural information about it. Lee learns and senses many things about China by listening his mother and grandmother’s songs. They sing about their homeland where they are not allowed to go back. “Both women begun to cry.
But neither stops her song” (279). They want him to remember his heritage by listening them singing. People sing to release sorrow inside and express their feeling towards they are longing. By paying attention to one’s grief indirectly demonstrates a lesson. The last way to teach new truths can be done by experiencing pain with or without knowing at the time of an event. One can be taught lessons from shameful situation s/he was in, and it can strength his/her personality and encourage him/her to help someone who is in need.
As a child before going to school, Gregory did not know what a shame or hate was. However, an act he performed to impress a girl he liked engaged him a bitter memory. “There was shame everywhere” (257). Whatever he did, wherever he went, he could not get over the shameful moment. When he realized he could help someone who was putted into a shameful position, he acted late that damage was already done. Embarrass minute only lasts at that time, and it is in one’s mind that keeps guilt in him/her. Therefore, as time passes, s/he will learn how to put guilt out from his/her mind.
Pain is important in teaching us new truths about ourselves and enabling us to see our world in a different way. When things that are around and we do not even appreciate the presence of such as air, water and traffic signs are not provided to comfort our lives, that is the time we realize the importance of those. Another time to learn lessons can be when seeing others’ pain. Some people are motivated to try to understand subjects that are not related to them by experiencing someone’s sorrows. Often many do not realize what shame is until they fare it through humiliation. Suffering in learning process can mature us.