ALWAYS - Lifelong Learning & Discipleship

Lady reading the Bible

The first public speech I ever gave was on being a life long learner. I was 16 and it was at my local church youth group. I spoke about a violinist who was 80 years old and still practised the violin for 6 hours a day.

For me a journey of life long learning is integral to the journey of discipleship that we are on - with the word disciple literally meaning learner.

In a business context we call this life long learning "Continual Professional Development" (CPD). In business this skill is becoming more and more important with increasing complexity and rising automation rendering most knowledge learned during university redundant within a few years of graduation.

In many ways I feel that this is also true in our discipleship journey. 

Increasing globalisation and movement into the network era has meant that we are subjected to many more ideas and concepts than we were just a little while ago. 

The internet has given us access to exponentially more information than we used to have. 

This is where lifelong learning becomes important for us too - as we learn to navigate the many new contexts that we find ourselves in.

One of the obstacles I often hear with regards to lifelong learning is the loss of the ability to learn as we get older. While there is a small level of truth to this (age is anything but kind) a lot of false assumptions have built up around this.

One of the main reasons that adults struggle to learn is not really to do with age at all, it is to do with the fact that people have got out of the habit of learning. The techniques and practices used for learning have been lost to us and it can take a bit of practice for us to get them back.

One of the other myths is around neurons - integral to learning. Many believe that we continually lose neurons as we get older, and this makes it harder to learn. However research has show that exercise, amongst other factors, helps to creates new neurons, a process called neurogenesis.

So I encourage you, please do not let age deter you from being a lifelong learner. The old saying you can't teach an old dog new tricks is a false one.

May we be people that believe in our capability to learn. May we be people that see the value of learning; and may we become life long learners.

If you are interested in finding out more about learning, I highly recommend this free 4 week course on learning - it is really good.

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