My grandmother once said, “Terese, you are never too old to learn,” and at the time, she was already old. Yet her words caused me to wonder, what is it that she is still learning?
Life Long Learner
Grandma was an avid reader. She read Prevention Magazine to learn about how to remain healthy and active in her old age. When she read Reader’s Digest she’d tell me some of the interesting and informative facts she’d learned about travel, politicians and famous people. The local newspaper kept her abreast with hometown and worldwide issues. She also listened to Paul Harvey, a radio news and commentator program and often watched evangelist Billy Graham on television.
Whether we are young or old, learning requires possessing the mindset of a novice, as well as staying curious. Though my grandma was old, she was not set in her ways. She already knew much about life, but was not arrogant about her knowledge. On the contrary, she maintained a receptive attitude in her old age, which helped to broaden the scope of what she already knew.
Grandma’s formal education ended after the eighth grade, but that did not stop her from adding to her intelligence through various life experiences. Back in her day, choices concerning a career were limited for women, but that did not stop her from seeking a job that suited her.
Having the reputation of a learner requires the courage to feel some uncertainty and awkwardness. She started out in retail, but soon found it did not fit her. Then, the local banker hired her to become their family’s cook. Preparing meals was not new to grandma, but the big fancy meals required for this particular family lent itself to a challenge for Grandma. The woman of the house loved to entertain, which required grandma to learn how to make delicacies unknown to her at the time. I can still see Grandma’s face as she told me tales of her lemon tart failures.
Grandma had a reputation as being a lifelong learner. She had the mindset of a novice even though she was a sage and remained curious and courageous. Because she acquiesced to the fact that she didn’t know everything, she was always ready to learn something.
Why bother adding to our knowledge? All of us know a few things, but none of us know everything and this gives us a good reason to keep adding to our knowledge.