Raising Lifelong Learners

I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

Abraham Lincoln

My first grader’s library day at school is every Thursday. He loves the gratification of returning a finished book. Therefore, some Wednesday nights it is a scramble around here to finish some of the books.

My husband’s and my favorite show is on Wednesday nights….at 8:00 sharp.

Last Wednesday night it was bedtime, but the library book still had four chapters to go….7:55….tick, tick….I’ll never make it to the couch on time, I thought.

I read one chapter….very quickly, but then I heard my husband yelling from the living room, “It’s on!”

We have ONE show…one! We deserve this, right? One unfinished library book is totally no big deal…to me.

First grader now throwing a fit….and I’m torn. I love his dedication but not when it’s cutting into my show.

First commercial break and my husband comes in to save the day. He offers a deal: If you wake up with me before I go to work, I’ll sit and finish the book with you early in the morning. Deal?

Deal says the first grader.

Everybody’s happy and my husband and I are smiling at each other saying there is no way he’s getting up at the crack of dawn to finish this book.

Right then, I stop smiling….wait…this is going to fall on me on top of our already frenzied morning schedule. I have no time to read four chapters before school.

I’ll deal with that later…my show is on.

Early next morning I hear my husband grabbing for the keys….I’m already picturing my morning with the extra chapters….

He reaches for the door and just then here comes our first grader with his Lyle Lovett bed head with library book in hand….

So for the next thirty minutes right there on the floor next to the front door, my first grader and his dad finished his library book.

I get myself a cup of caffeine as they read. I couldn’t help but think, “This is what it is all about, isn’t it?”

“It” being a parent of a young reader and writer.

“It” being learning.

“It” being my husband and I taking the time to foster a young lifelong learner.

I don’t care what numbers come home on a report card or a test. Of course, I want him to always try his best at school, but what I want most, when it comes to his education, is for him to walk out of our home a lifelong learner.

To love learning….each day.

So, I want this for him, but the best way for him to become a lifelong learner is to start asking: Am I a lifelong learner?

What does a lifelong learner look like? What does he do? What does he know?

I did a little investigating into people who are fantastic lifelong learners. There is something different about them….a really good different.

Lifelong learners:

Read…a lot! Of course, right? Theodore Roosevelt was a voracious reader….a speed reader to boot. He would wake up early and read an entire book before the day even got started. If he had time at night, he would squeeze another one in….if a president can find the time to finish books, why can’t I?

I definitely need to look into speed reading.

Write…a lot! Lifelong learners take their reading and living experiences and write. They are never just spoon fed information…they interact with books and people to concoct their own thoughts….can we say independent thinkers?

I need to either become a morning person or a night owl….those hours are usually the quietest around here.

Metacognition…lifelong learners have this. They know what they know and how they learn new things. I’m trying to learn how to knit….I’m discovering two things…I’m a tactile learner. I have to do it in order to learn it. The second thing I’m learning is I would never had made it as a pioneer woman…thank goodness for Target.

I’m not giving up, though! Hobby Lobby is still my friend!

Passion…lifelong learners have a lot of this and it’s contagious. Right now I’m reading Education of a Wandering Man by Louis L’Amour. I’m only on chapter four, but he writes about his “education” even though he only went to school until the age of fifteen. He was passionate about reading and learning!

His passion for learning started at home. In his book he writes, “Ours was a family in which everybody was constantly reading, and where literature, politics, history, and the events of the prized ring were discussed at breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Can we say Table Talk, y’all?

He goes on to say, “All of us had library cards, and they were always in use. Reading was as natural to us as breathing.”

He undoubtedly had a passion for books, learning, and an education…no matter how one attains it. But just make sure you get an education somehow and keep getting one!

So, to sum things up….a lifelong learner is a reader, writer, metacognitioner (that’s not really a word, I know….but you know what I mean, right?) and one who is passionate about learning.

How does this fit into my daily life as a mom? Right now, what this means to me is a slight shift in our daily lives. We turn the TV off more often and we do more. We garden, we knit, we paint, we sit outside and listen to music, we talk, we play games and sports, we share, we think, we do quiet time…we just do more and watch less.

Naturally, we will learn more….

Okay, well the weather is finally beautiful outside, so I’m turning off the computer and we’re going for a walk…..with a stroller, a bike, and an overweight dog….an education awaits us all! Wish us luck!





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