As followers of Jesus, the greatest among teachers, we are pro-education. Education is not just the pursuit of a degree but the development of an ongoing discipline that promotes learning.
The writer in Proverbs describes the learning process as “attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair.” (Proverbs 1:1-3).
In his “Discipleship Journal,” author Bill Mowry offers the following suggestions on how to become a lifelong learner:
¨ Start with your attitude. Lifelong learning begins with a heart that desires change, wisdom, and application.
¨ Ask questions. Learners ask good questions. They possess an insatiable curiosity—a longing to know, discover, and inquire. Ask questions that get below the surface.
¨ Join others. Collaborative learning—in classes, small groups, with friends and colleagues—allows us to benefit from diverse perspectives and approaches. People are a gold mine of learning that is tapped through conversation.
¨ Check out the other side. Take time to examine and understand another point of view, even if it radically contradicts yours. You may see things in a new light, or you may have your old convictions strengthened. Personal convictions that have never been tested remain flabby.
¨ Read broadly. Include a diversity of books, authors, and topics. Resist the temptation to read only those books that reinforce what you already believe.
¨ Keep a journal. Recording what we learn captures our growth in wisdom.
¨ Experiment. Try new approaches and ideas. Age does not affect your ability to learn. An eighty-year-old can learn to surf the net like an eighteen-year-old.
¨ Apply what you know. Our depth of understanding is often directly related to our ability to apply what we’ve learned. Application takes knowledge from the head to the heart.