“Commit yourself to lifelong learning. The most valuable asset you’ll ever have is your mind and what you put into it.”Brian Tracy
Several years ago, my husband and I bought our first home in Houston, Texas. We were unfamiliar with the area and knew only two people nearby. One of the first women to introduce herself to me was a lovely lady named Amber. I found her easy to talk to and began to admire her in many ways. She is the type who strives for lifelong learning. She explained once that it was her goal to continuously learn new things, and for many consecutive years she had achieved that goal. Whether it was learning a new instrument, teaching herself to knit and crochet, or building shelves in her front room entirely on her own, Amber learned how to do it.
Amber went a step beyond just learning new things, though. She used her many talents to serve other people. When her church needed a piano player, she was quick to volunteer, and always did so with a smile. When someone asked for a musical number at a Christmas party, she pulled out her viola and personally arranged a song to perform. When she heard that I wanted some quick family photos for our Christmas card, she came over with her camera the next day. (As you can see, the pictures turned out beautifully!) Currently, she’s remodeling a family member’s bathroom!
Inspired by Amber, I realized I wanted to improve my own life in such a way. I didn’t feel a desire to return to school while raising my very young children, but I saw that there was other knowledge to gain beyond educational learning. In particular, I felt a desire to cultivate creativity in my daily life. With the help of step-by-step tutorials online and talented friends, I began learning how to make things with my hands – trying new crochet patterns, creating seasonal wreaths, painting personalized décor for my children, and so on.
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”Benjamin Franklin
Growing up, I looked to my grandmother, Beverly, as an example of continually seeking knowledge throughout life. She started her education at Brigham Young University at 18 years old. About a year later, she met and married her husband, becoming pregnant not long after. In order to pursue her dream of staying home with her children, she withdrew from classes before finishing a degree. (See her picture above.)
Years later, as her youngest child was finishing high school, Beverly went back to school herself, earning her associate’s degree. She didn’t stop there, though, and went on to receive her certification as a licensed practical nurse, and then becoming a registered nurse. Her desire for this education blessed the lives of those around her – especially the mothers and babies in the maternity unit where she worked. (I’m told nobody could swaddle a baby like “OB-Bev!”)
I am now in a phase of life where I am focusing less on my own education and more on assisting my children in their educational journey. It’s inspiring to see how eager they are to learn – whether it is beginning to read in school, learning new sports, or even beginning to assist with chores like laundry and dishes. Children naturally have a thirst for knowledge, and seeing it first hand reminds me what a blessing it is to learn and grow through our entire lives. May we always appreciate our minds’ capabilities and never stop learning!