Daily Thoughts, January 31, 2016
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Learning

In my youth, I looked up to my elders with amazement.  How could they have learned so much that the need for learning had stopped.  As I look back at my heroes of that time, I realize that my amazement was based on a false premise!  The best, then and now, never stop learning.  While their methods often changed, the thirst and appetite that made them special did not.  Every day and each interaction was an opportunity to expand one’s thinking.  Learning in all its forms was pursued relentlessly.  It was a trait that continued until their passing.

As I think back, there are themes in their lives that I find myself paying attention to.

Each has an ability to see the humor in their weaknesses and shortcomings.  They smiled and laughed when challenged with a variation of the question, “Well, think again, you idiots, fools – how long before you get smart?” (Psalm 94.8) There was a shared understanding that there were gaps in their understanding and sight.  Rather than dwelling on these as negatives, they were embraced and used as motivation to listen deeper and consider longer.

Learning and teaching are sides of the same coin.  I recall going to a university physics professor with a 7th grade math problem. I still remember was his patience and ability to help a twelve-year old boy understand complex math in a simple way.  When I thanked him, his looked at me with soft, quiet eyes and responded; “Thank-you for asking.  I always learn more than I am able to share.”

My heroes always seem to let life be the first to teach.  They did not appear to dwell on controlling life around them.  They enjoyed and engaged in life as it came.  With a variety of styles and approaches to life, they shared an enthusiasm for living, a thirst to contribute, and a willingness to change.  They were not always successful.  Mistakes were part of their lives.  In the good and bad, they strived to be part of making things better.

Opportunities to learn are everywhere.

January 30, 2016
February 1, 2016