My Love of Learning Did Not Begin Until After School

Math Dude podcast logoYesterday I heard a podcaster make the comment that “if you’re like me, your love of learning did not end just because you finished school.” I immediately thought, “well, I guess I am not like you.” Before I tell you how the Math Dude and I are different, let me talk about how some people’s love of learning has seemed to end.

Old Dogs, New Tricks

I know plenty of people who seem to have stopped learning because they graduated from high school or college. It is amazing—and sad—to me to see so many people who seem to have the attitude that because they are now out of school, they don’t need to learn anything else. Some even feel like they can’t learn anything new. All their learning took place in school as if it is required to have a classroom and a teacher to guide the learning process.

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is one of the worst attitudes that has permeated our society. I certainly understand that some things might get more difficult with age. But the majority of the time I hear this in relation to something that a person just doesn’t want to learn. Or, worse yet, is when the person is convinced that they can’t learn.


Let’s take typing as an example, but this can be applied to so many skills and areas of learning.

How many times have you seen someone who sits at a computer all day but has never learned to type properly? I don’t know that everyone needs to learn to type 100 WPM, but most people could do better than what they do. I have friends who use two or three fingers on each hand and claim that they do just fine with typing. They refuse to try to learn to type properly because “it will take too much time to learn the right way and I have real work to do.”, “I have my own way and it works for me.”, or “I’ve tried it the right way and I can’t learn it.”

old typewriterCertainly there may be a better way to type than what we are taught in school. However, I think most typing curriculum is based in research. Using 8-10 fingers on the keyboard has to be more efficient than 4-6. Yet, if you still think that your way is better I would love to read your scientific basis for that. I wouldn’t mind learning a new way to type if it is better. Over the years we will end up doing more and more typing, not less and less. I am all for a better way.

I don’t expect everyone to learn the superior Dvorak keyboard layout, but at least learn QWERTY the best you can.

If these folks would consider how much time they would save by learning to type properly, they would understand that it is worth taking 2 weeks to learn the right way. Then they will hone their new-found skill as they go about their normal jobs.

As to “I can’t learn it (typing/language/grammar/whatever)”, who was the expert in that skill who convinced you that you were not capable of learning it? Many people with the attitude that they can’t learn something made that determination on their own and are limited by that attitude—not by their actual ability.

My Love of Learning

I don’t think I was like the Math Dude who said his love of learning did not end after school. The truth is, I don’t think mine even started until I got out of college. I somewhat remember a time a couple of years after college that I discovered the wealth of knowledge contained in books. This was before the world had easy access to the Internet.

It’s not that I didn’t have a thirst for knowledge in school, it was that I wanted so much more of some subjects and much less of others. I still don’t consider myself a lover of history, but give me a compelling historical account of an event and I will learn every detail there is to learn. I do remember in high school really enjoying physics, calculus and something called college math (it seemed to be a primer on logic that used various math disciplines as the teaching tool). Enjoying those subjects and actually getting good grades were not necessarily synonymous.

I also loved any statistic I could get my hands on concerning the Dallas Cowboys and the many great players we had through the 1980s. As often as I could, I would buy The Dallas Morning News from the gas station on the way home from school on Mondays. That gave me the best set of facts and figures from the weekend game.

So I’ve always had an intense desire to learn something, but I certainly didn’t enjoy school and having to study everything equally. I didn’t even enjoy college all that much. It was one of those things that I endured because it was the right thing for me to do.

Don’t let your love of learning die just because you are no longer tortured by a teacher and a classroom. Find something to be curious about. I just can’t imagine going through life without any desire to learn something new. I see people who have lied to themselves about not being able to learn new skills or information and I have to wonder where the fun in life is for them. I may be missing something and they may have a curiosity that I never see, but people who are curious usually have trouble containing their curiosity when talking with others.

Stay curious!

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a great day with friends. The morning started with football. Not the kind you watch, but the kind you play. A group of 17 men and boys gathered at one of the local parks for some touch football. We left the ladies and girls to put the finishing touches on the food for the feast we were going to have later in the day.Coffee Cake braid

When we got to the park we were surprised to see that it was quite full with school students competing in a nationwide track and field event. This is not really a park as much as it is a full sports complex. There is a soccer stadium along with baseball diamonds, tennis, racquetball, and handball courts. There are also a couple of weight rooms, gymnastics rooms and a 1 kilometer dirt track that goes around the inside of the surrounding wall. Many other sports types are practiced and competed at this complex.

After we found a place to play ball (the outfield between two baseball diamonds), we had a great time. No one was seriously injured.

Before the ball game I had gotten my desert ready to go in the oven. I made a braided coffee cake sweet bread. I was super pleased with the way it turned out. I got it all ready to go up to the final rise. My wife then tossed it in the oven for me to bake while we were playing ball. She still had her carrot cake to ice, corn and sweet potato casserole to cook and potatoes to smash. She stayed busy while we had a fun time.

Part of the group around the foodWhen we got to the other missionary’s house, we unloaded our loot and added it to the feast. We had 10 families consisting of 48 people, if my count is correct. Each family was to bring a desert. I know several who brought two. That means there were at least 15 different cakes, pies, cookies, fudge, sweet breads and other sweet goodies to wash down the 3 huge turkeys and fixin’s.

We then sat around and talked and watched football for the next several hours while the kids ran around in the back yard. For some reason the kids were hungry and wanted more food before we left while the adults will be satisfied for a few days to come.

Here’s to wishing you a happy Thanksgiving as well as a wonderful holiday season to come.