Friday, April 2, 2010
I am a firm believer in formal education. I believe that every single American should earn a high school diploma. With all the blessings and opportunities available in the United States, there are no good excuses for not having a high school diploma. I also believe that every high school graduate should seek higher education of some kind to prepare to provide financially for themselves and their families. After the diploma and degree are completed, we should continue to learn every good thing that we can. We are not gaining knowledge for this life alone but for our eternal lives. We must become lifelong learners. Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, "A few of the basic attributes needed to become a lifelong learner are courage, faithful desire, humility, patience, curiosity, and a willingness to communicate and share the knowledge that we gain…. Lifelong learning is essential to the vitality of the human mind, body, and soul. It enhances self-worth and self-actuation. Lifelong learning is invigorating mentally and is a great defense against aging, depression, and self-doubt" ("The Journey of Lifelong Learning," in Brigham Young University 2008-2009 Speeches , 2, 8-9). We are here on earth for only a short time, but what we learn during this life will have an impact on our next life. The knowledge we gain as we go through this life is the only thing we can take with us into the next life. In Doctrine and Covenants 130:18, we read, "Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection." Elder Hales suggested that lifelong learners have some special attributes: "Courage: Lifelong learners have the courage to overcome the fear of leaving the outer limits of their educational comfort zones and entering the unknown. Faithful Desire: Lifelong learners have an insatiable, unselfish inner desire to acquire a wide spectrum of knowledge for the mere joy of attaining and sharing the increased knowledge without any recognition or reward. Humility: Lifelong learners recognize that intelligence is a gift of God; they do not dwell on it or become prideful about their personal intelligence quotient or accomplishments. Patience: Lifelong learners acquire an inordinate degree of patience in their quest for learning. They understand that it takes a great deal of energy and a great deal of time to find pure knowledge. Curiosity: Lifelong learners never lose their God-given, inherent curiosity. They find exhilarating joy and satisfaction in discovering the answer to something previously unknown to them. Communication: Lifelong learners are teachers at heart, reveling in the communication of knowledge. They find joy when those they teach are uplifted and strengthened…. The real meaning of lifelong learning takes shape in the circle of past, present, and future - progressing as time moves on in its swift, inevitable pacer. What we do with our time will determine the degree of knowledge and spiritual values we take to the eternities following our mortal test" (BYU Magazine, Winter 2009, p 3). Parents can help their children appreciate education and lifelong learning by letting them see your excitement about learning new things. As they understand the importance of lifelong learning, they will continue to add freedoms to their lives.