Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Learning

“The activity or process of gaining knowledge or skill by studying, practicing, being taught, or experiencing something: the activity of someone who learns.”


Aristotle once said, “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know,” and Einstein had similar sentiments, saying, “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.”


It’s humbling that these positively great minds — who knew far more than I’ll ever know — both admitted that despite the wealth of knowledge they possessed, they really didn’t know very much at all (which means I really don’t know very much at all). And yet that truth didn’t make them throw up their hands and cry “there’s too much to learn so I’ll just stop learning.” On the contrary, they were continuously learning. Being a lifelong learner is important. And, with the whole year ahead, now is the perfect time to think about some things you’d like to learn this year.

As for me, I’d like to learn…


More French: I’d like to continue to work on my French so I’ll be able to converse more on our trip to France later this year than I was able to last May. I know enough to get by, and can have basic conversations in French: when we arrived, that came in handy right away when I had to order our train tickets, and when we were looking for an umbrella—un parapluie—to buy. 

In the morning when my husband and I would head out to explore, we’d stop at a lovely patisserie, where we’d see the same woman each day. I loved that I knew how to reply when she’d say “Bonjour!” cheerily, and asked us how we were, then inquired what we wanted. I loved being able to order in French, but our conversation wouldn’t have been able to go on much longer than that, or I’d run out of things to say or things I understood. When we go back, I’d like to know enough French for those conversations to go on longer.


Tennis: I’d also like to learn tennis. I know the gist of the game, but for quite a few years now I’ve been interested in taking lessons, but never got around to it. Well, let this be the year! That way I’ll fit into another Connecticut stereotype (hah!) everyone already assumes I know how to play since I live here. People who aren’t from Connecticut often associate the entire state as being like Fairfield County. Hence, there’s this list. Ok, ok, ok so some of those totally apply to me, but not all! 


Geography: Confession time! My geography skills are lackluster. I blame this on the fact I moved when I was in 7th grade—during which time I had a geography class—and somehow throughout the rest of my time in school I never landed in another one. I’m regularly shamed by those kids Ellen DeGeneres has on her show who know more about geography and capitals and presidents than I do, and they’re barely out of diapers! 

Well, time to change that! Just because I didn’t have another geography class in school doesn’t mean it’s the end of the line for geography and me. It’s up to me now! At least I can take comfort in the fact I know more than Bobby Ray Simmons, Jr. (B.o.B) who made headlines recently because he seems to genuinely believe the earth is flat. I'm still holding on to some hope that he's totally pretending because you know, no such thing as bad press and all...



What are some of the things you want to learn this year?


Not sure? Check out khanacademy.org, a not-for-profit that believes in a free, world-class education for anyone, where you can find a number of subjects to learn about. It’s seriously great, and I definitely suggest checking it out. Pick a topic of interest and get going!



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