I graduated from college a long time ago. But I’ve never stopped learning. In fact, as I served in various schools and in Peace Corps and eventually became a home-schooling mother of eight, I have encountered a multitude of new, rather steep, learning curves. Presently, I am learning at a faster rate than ever before.
This past year I learned how to help my son navigate through the difficulties of a long-distance, on-line college education and I am presently considering the next three kids’ futures. They are facing a vastly different world than the one I grew up in. Technology is huge and understanding it’s place in the world is necessary to succeed in pretty much every field. College tuitions are so high now that for one child, I could easily spend more than I did to buy my house! The consequences of accepting loans are considerable. Choices have strings attached and learning everything I can about higher-education options is vitally important for my family’s health.
I have also been learning how to handle the many house and property issues which creep up on a daily basis. I’ve learned to ask for help and hire experts who can solve issues like broken stoves and stuck drainage pipes, but I’ve also learned that there are things which I can do to avoid problems before they arise. The old adage, “A stitch in time…” is very true! It helps to know where the well-pump turn-off value is too.
There was time when the mere thought of handling large gatherings at meals, organizing classes day in and day out, and maintaining a bustling home would have sent me into a panic. But panic really isn’t an option here. In every home, the hardest part is being involved in the daily lives of those around you. I should say, being aware of the spiritual welfare of those around you. The “stitch in time” adage applies here too. As human beings, we go through an incredible amount of change and stress in the course of a day, a week, a month and a lifetime. What happened yesterday may still color our mood tomorrow. In today’s techno, information over-loaded society, this is especially true. Our kids are immersed in a turbulent sea of information and disinformation. Recognizing mood swings, depression, creeping irritation, a deep-seeded sadness, over-arching pride, or a whole host of other emotional and spiritual dangers is vastly important for the success of a family. And deciding which action to take involves another field of expertise. Not something one learns in a day…it takes a life time.
But in all these learning experiences, I have found one common ingredient: to care makes learning meaningful. Whether I am learning how to teach, how to fix a faucet, how to love, I know that the most vital aspect of life-long learning is the love with which we approach the situation, be it a lecture or a broken heart.
If I have learned anything, it is that love is life.