It’s difficult to think of a person who doesn’t have the desire to learn – whether the subject is history, sports, politics, cooking or just plain trivia.
Research suggests that individuals who are avid learners are likely to be more physically and mentally healthy than their less-engaged peers. There has been incredible validation by science in this area. What we learn and how we do it will greatly influence our future.
I can still see my grandfather at 86 sitting at the kitchen table with his espresso, Italian newspaper and stacks of books.
And my mother never stopped flaunting her latest finding about the stock market or something interesting she’d heard on the Larry King TV show. Every time we chatted, she would challenge me to see if I knew what she knew. I felt compelled to keep up with her.
I try to do the same thing with my children and grandchildren because I want them to stay on top of things, not be pushed under by them.
The grandkids know I won’t put up with the common kid complaint: “I’m bored.” I knew never to say that because I’d always get the same response: either “go read a book” or “I’ll give you something to do.” The latter meant manual labor. My mother could always find something for me to do that was not particularly exciting, such as cleaning the bathroom. Reading a book became my savior.
Having a brain that can function into our later years takes effort. Yes, some of our genetic coding and circumstances out of our control mean something. But every day we can make a point of increasing our learning capacity. Even simple acts like becoming more observant or listening more carefully instead of thinking of what you’re going to say next can be great educational experiences.
Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with a great quote from Eartha Kitt: “I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.”