Delight-Directed Learning 


(which is one of the "Seven Natural

Vital Signs of the Learning Process" * )



by Marilyn Howshall

developer of the Lifestyle of LearningTM ministry



"Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He

shall give you the desires of your heart."  (Psalm 37:4)



"Train up a child in the way he should go [and

in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he

will not depart from it."  (Proverbs 22:6 The Amplified Bible)




To delight in something is to take a high degree of pleasure or satisfaction of mind in something. Delight is of a permanent nature as opposed to fun, or a sudden burst of joy which lasts for the moment. There is no moral nature to delight. It is neither good nor bad. Rather it is the object of delight that will determine its moral quality or educational value. Children will delight in something whether it is fruitless, diversive entertainment or something of educational value. With this in mind, delight as a vital sign must be viewed with the goal that the thing delighted in has dimension, substance, quality and purpose.


The child’s personal interests in life should not be looked upon as having mere fringe educational benefits, but should be recognized as central to his development. These interests can give direction to his future studies, and provide current opportunities for rich spiritual lessons. Likewise, the parent can draw from the child’s interests for the content needed to develop his language skills. As one interest is allowed to develop, it will begin a natural overflow into other areas of interest and into a more mature expression as the child develops. You will not reap a learning delight in your children if you attempt to prematurely expect all their activities to yield a polished product. Quality products that are a true outgrowth of the child’s learning pursuits require time to surface.


It is for this reason that we need to enable and release our children to go the distance with an interest of value and of their choosing – one that has the potential of long-term delight. The dabbling approach to learning will never lead anywhere. Each child must be encouraged to pursue an interest with his whole heart, beginning a natural process of growth. Developing a quality skill or knowledge in an area of interest at a young age will give the child something of value to share and with which to serve others. This then develops into vision for individual life-purpose.


Delight’s counterfeit comes in the form of anything that is fun for the moment. Enjoying or simply being agreeable to an activity that has been parent-generated is not the same as taking delight in it. Often the parent is merely making stabs in the dark in her effort to provide educational experiences for her child. In fact, too many activities of this nature, in which the child never goes beyond surface curiosity or interest, may actually keep the void in his life from being recognized and effectively addressed.


Destructive forces of boredom may be present within the home. If this is true, then it may be necessary to begin tempering less desirable interests and indulgences, while at the same time directing activity into more fruitful areas. This can be a challenge with adolescents whose value systems are already set. Approaching change within the context of their personal relationship with God is the best place to begin. A pure, teachable heart is essential to developing a learning delight and learning process – first in ourselves, them in our children."







* Note from Barb: "Delight-Directed" is just one of seven "natural vital signs of the learning process" as created and presented by Marilyn Howshall. The other six "signs" are described in Book 1 of the Wisdom's Way of Learning 4-book series, The Science, Art, and Tools of Learning. The general concept of "delight-directed" learning is thoroughly, graciously, and wisely addressed throughout all of Marilyn’s writings, from many angles that address not only the "approach" but also the heart of it and how to implement it. 


For more information on Lifestyle of Learning, please refer to my Lifestyle of LearningTM Main Page where you'll find several items that will help acquaint you with Marilyn's writings and this message. ...  Her message has been greatly developed since the writing of this article, and this ministry has a wonderful online presence now!  Check out their websites:


And on Facebook do a search for "HEM" (= Home Educated Mom)







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