Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lifetime Learning

It's late when I wipe all the jam off the counter tops and pour myself a glass of water.  My first foray into canning was definitely a success.  My husband was a bit quizzical about the giant pot of boiling water heating up the entire house, but I think, by now, he's used to me and my hair-brained way of learning new skills.

Most of my life, I didn't know I was a kinetic learner.  Despite the fact that I could pick up a ballet sequence after a few times of marking it through.  Despite the fact that copying out my notes in school was the only way I could commit the information to memory.

It wasn't until I was an adult with the confidence to chase down the skills I wished to have that I figured it out.  These days, you can't stop me.

I knew the basics of knitting as a young girl, but gradually re-taught myself as an adult.  I'm still teaching myself how to sew through trial and error and lots of hands on learning.  I've always wanted to know how to make jam, so I finally gathered the supplies, read up on it, and went for it.

I think a large part of my ability to look at a skill I wish to have and decide to claim it as my own has a lot to do with how I was raised.  Growing up, my siblings and I were encouraged to follow our interests.  The vast variety of passions, careers and affinities in my sibling group speaks to a childhood spent learning as much as we could about the things we were drawn to.  I want that for my kids.

So when Ben wandered in, in search of a spoon of jam to lick, I made sure I told him: "I don't know how to do this.  But I'm giving it a try, because I've always wanted to."  In our family, learning is a part of life, something that isn't sectioned into a set amount of time during the day and year, completed at a certain age.  Learning is an integral part of living.  As long as we live, we aim to learn.

In my journal, I have a list.  A list that continues to grow even as it continues to be accomplished.  A list of things to learn, things to do, things to try.  My lifetime learning list.  I pull it down off the shelf just before midnight, my hair a frizzy mess of humidity, my arms a spattered, sticky mess, so tired I can hardly stand.  I cross out "make jam" on my list.  And despite the hour and fatigue, I can't help but smile.

What are you learning these days?


  1. You always make me smile with your posts, love this one. I too want to make jam, in fact I want to try the whole canning thing, won't be this year, but maybe next?

    And your style of learning, life long learning, is exactly where we are at and we love it!!!

    1. I was interested last year, but made the decision that being hugely pregnant in the summer time rendered me exempt. This year was just the right timing - no fuzzy pregnancy brain to interfere!

      Also, I love hearing that others value learning as a natural part of life. It's a wonderful way to live it, isn't it?

  2. Looks awesome, you will enjoy the 'fruit' of your labor for months to come.

    1. I hope so! My knee jerk reaction is usually to give things like this away. But that's good too!

  3. Loved your description of crossing this off your "learn to do" list, and telling your son you don't know how but are trying it anyway.


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