“There is divine beauty in learning… To learn means to accept the postulate that life did not begin at my birth. Others have been here before me, and I walk in their footsteps. The books I have read were composed by generations of fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, teachers and disciples. I am the sum total of their experiences, their quests. And so are you.” (Elie Wiesel)
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Tags: books, divine beauty, Elie Wiesel, footsteps, learning
Categories : Appreciation, History, Leadership, Literature, Philosophy, Self-Development, Writing
“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40)
It is very hard indeed to underestimate the impact and value that our teachers leave on our lives. This holds true for both good and bad. When we are young, especially, teachers exert a profound guiding influence on our lives.
Some years ago, I asked a number of colleagues at work to tell me about the teachers who made the biggest impression on them.. Who were their favorites? What did they learn from them? What set them apart from others?
I don’t remember the specifics of the responses I got. That was over fifteen years ago. I do remember, however, that the one common response was that the finest and most beloved teachers showed personal interest and affection for their students.
One learns from this that just as “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” so the proverb goes, so the way to a person’s mind is through the heart. We learn best, often, from those who love us. It stimulates us to want to please them and take an interest in what is most important to them.
On my own list, I remember elementary and high school teachers who took an interest in me and whose love for their subjects infected me. Grace Jones–4th Grade. Judy Essex–French. Mike Brundage–Biology. Add to that music teachers and seminary professors who stimulated me to go deeper than the average bear in music and theology. Don Koerber–Guitar. Dr. Paul Livermore–Theology. These all made a deep imprint that remains. I bet you could share similar lists.
Who are your favorite teachers? What subjects did they hold forth on that stimulated your love and interest? What is the difference between a good and a bad teacher in your own lives?
The new academic year is upon us. A season of learning new and fascinating things has begun. Love a teacher today. We don’t pay them nearly enough for what they do.
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Tags: affection, impact, influence, Jesus, learning, love, proverb, teachers
Categories : Appreciation, Education, Leadership, Mentoring, Vocation
“’The best thing for being sad,’ replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, ‘is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.’”
–T.H. White, The Once and Future King
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Tags: learning, Merlin, minds, T.H. White, The Once and Future King
Categories : Education, Literature, Psychology, Self-Development
“A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.”
(Alexander Pope, 1688-1744)
I came across a fascinating article early this morning in one of my favorite blogs, Lead.Learn.Live by David Kanigan. You can read it here.
The essence of this article talked about really learning a thing. I’ve been chewing on it all day.
It doesn’t take a prodigious amount of effort to be a dilettante and a dabbler. I get bored quickly so it is very easy for me to become an amateur in yet another discipline, another interest, another pursuit.
Mastery and expertise take lots of time. There’s simply no other way around it. You don’t become a pro at anything overnight.
Over the past thirty-five years, I’ve given myself to two principal pursuits: Music and the Bible (theology). I’ve spent enormous amounts of discretionary time with both because I love them. As well I’ve spent many years in vocations using both skills.
As a result, I have come to learn things that a dabbler might not think important. When the song calls for a Minor 6th chord, I know how it sounds. Simply playing the Minor chord satisfies many. But I’m not satisfied. I want to do my best to play it as the composer intended.
I listen to a lot of audio and I can tell when an author or a speaker has taken pains to be well-prepared when talking about biblical and theological things. And I can tell when they’re in over their heads, however well-intentioned. You just know because you’ve paid your dues.
So here’s the gauntlet: Find out those things you love. The things you are passionate about. The things you’d do for free. Learn them well, like the back of your hand. You’ll be struck, after drinking deep, with a sense of your own ignorance. That feeling of “I need to go deeper and learn more about this.” Not a bad outcome at all.
You will grow and those you share with will as well.
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Tags: Alexander Pope, amateur, dabbler, David Kanigan, dilettante, learning, mastery, professional
Categories : Appreciation, Leadership, Self-Development
Christmas is over and the New Year will be upon us in four days. Many of us are laying out our goals for the next year and beyond.
One of the most important things one can do is take an honest inventory of one’s life and determine what works and what doesn’t. What sorts of things are you doing, what kind of company are you keeping, what kinds of attitudes do you wear like clothes that may be bringing you closer to your goals in life? Or are steering you farther away from hitting your potential as a human being, created in God’s image with a purpose?
Doing this takes courage because it usually means making adjustments, sometimes radical changes to keep the ship from the shoals.
I saw an old friend today while shopping. We’d not seen each other in the past four or five years. And we talked about this important matter of facing what doesn’t work. And changing.
Some of the organizations and movements we’d once been identified with were not producing health in their adherents over the long haul. Instead of nurturing well-adjusted people within their orbits, they produced sorrow, disappointment and frustration. Time for a change.
Here are some tough and practical questions you must wrestle with if you desire sanity and growth:
- With whom do you spend your discretionary time? Companions can either make or mar a life. We cannot stress strongly enough the importance of choosing friends carefully. The best friends you have are those who have the effect of bringing you to a higher level by their presence. Cultivate these. And you must limit your involvements with pessimists, dream-killers and critics. Their influence is hurting you. It just is.
- Are you using your gifts and abilities to their full potential? This may be the year for a career change. Some of us are bound by the “golden handcuffs” of a large salary and benefits package. You really need to ask yourself if the pay and benefits outweigh that uneasy sense of not doing what you are best prepared to do. Is earning a lot of money worth the feeling that you may be falling short of your ultimate design and purpose? Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, when courting PepsiCo chairman John Sculley in 1983 asked the famous question “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want to change the world?”
- Are you a lifelong learner? My wife gave me a Kindle Fire® reader for Christmas and I am using it to my advantage in this important area. There are so many free books out there! Are you seeking to learn something new every single day, to advance and to grow? Or will you settle for mediocrity, falling short of the great call upon your life.
Here’s to growth, to change, to doing things differently this year. To sanity. Cheers!
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Tags: Albert Einstein, friendship, insanity, John Sculley, learning, Steve Jobs
Categories : Creativity, Friendship, Leadership, Self-Development