I spent seven years of my life earning a PhD degree in Intercultural Studies. The PhD has been called a “terminal degree,” but I take issue with that. I did learn a great many things on that seven-year journey—but mostly I learned how much I still didn’t know. I was able to answer some questions along the way, but even the answers just raised more questions. One of the reasons why I think heaven will never be boring is that we will always have more to learn. God created us to be inquisitive, thinking, analytic learners. And how sad it is when people stop learning! Because we were made to be lifelong learners, we should use every minute of our brief lives on Earth to keep learning new things. In fact, when we die, we just transfer to a new school.
Yogi Berra once said, “You can observe a lot just by watching.” And you certainly can. The key is your attitude about learning. Many people seem to already “know it all,” but others are dedicated to being “lifelong learners.” I am put off by know-it-alls, but I am attracted to lifelong learners. Lifelong learners live a life founded on humility, recognizing that they can learn something new from anyone as long as they pay attention. I learned how to create PowerPoint presentations from my oldest daughter when she was in seventh grade—and at the time, they revolutionized my teaching as a university professor. Then, a few years ago, my youngest daughter taught me how to text. I originally thought that texting was one of the stupidest things I had ever heard of—until I tried it. And now I love texting—it is the perfect kind of communication for many situations.
The learning life can revolutionize marriages. After several years of marriage, we can start thinking that we have our spouse all figured out. But no one can ever be “figured out” in this life—not only because every person is a unique mysterious masterpiece, created by a master-designer whose intellect is far beyond ours, but also because even if we were to figure someone out, that person would keep on changing. Life continually changes all of us. I am embarrassed to admit that I did not learn my wife’s primary love language until we had been married for over three decades. If married men and women could embrace the marvelous mystery that is their spouse and become determined lifelong learners about him or her, we would see far fewer divorces and far more marriages filled with daily excitement and wonder.
Reflections: What new thing have you always wanted to learn how to do? What new technologies are you afraid to learn to use? Ask someone to teach you how to use them. What can you learn to do in small increments, starting even today?
Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.