Monday, May 5, 2008

On Learning and Breathing

"Learning" by

Last week I spoke at the BYU Women’s Conference on lifelong learning. My first thought when they gave me this assigned topic was “What? That’s like trying to teach someone how to breathe. Doesn’t everyone just do it?” But as I stopped to think about it, I realized that not everyone does. I remembered once hearing a man say that when he graduated from college he promised himself he’d never read another book as long as he lived. That, to me, fit the old adage about not chopping off your nose to spite your face. Learning makes life interesting and fun! It lifts us out of the mundane details of life. Learning opens windows and doors of opportunity and vision. But as I reflected on the topic I realized that one of the saddest things is that some people for one reason or another feel like they can’t learn. That is absolutely not true. Anyone who wants to can learn–we just need to discover in what ways we best learn.
I shared some of the things I’ve learned about my own learning style in my talk. When I want to memorize something, I have to be in motion. I get on the tread mill or I walk up and down the hall. I also learned that when reading I focus better when I place a piece of colored cellophane over the page and read through it. The man who taught me this said the color didn’t matter as long as it was your favorite color. I also know that for me, repetition is necessary, so I type out things I want to learn and tape them all over the house so that I see them often. But the most important thing I’ve come to understand is that the Holy Ghost is an amazing teaching. He has guided my study not only in spiritual matters, but secular. One of the things I did that has been most beneficial is to pray for the Spirit to guide me as to what books I should read. In this way I’ve discovered some books that have changed me in wonderful ways. The Spirit has also guided me to people who have taught me what I needed to know when I needed to know it. President Monson recently said, “Beyond our study of spiritual matters, secular learning is also essential.” It is my firm conviction that God wants us to learn all we can and that anyone can learn if they have the desire and let the Spirit tutor them. Learning makes life more interesting but it also makes us more interesting! Maybe breathing lessons isn’t such a bad idea!

P.S. If you don't know anything about fractals, that is a good place to start learning something new. They are fascinating.


Meleah said...

Thanks Mom, I always like your posts. For some reason they always give me something to think about.

Mariah said...

You really got me thinking about things I want to learn and how to go for it. Thanks for all your inspiration!!

connie said...

I would have loved attending the conference. Stop learning, NEVER!!! There is so much out there. I was converted to the LDS church in 1980 and still feel like I have barely scratched the surface of the gospel.

Wendi said...

Cool site! Thanks for the link. :)