It’s really never too late to learn something new. Do you believe that? And more importantly, do you actually practice it?
We tend to think of education as going to school, sitting in a classroom or doing homework. But isn’t education really a daily, year-round, never-ending thing? It should be for all of us and it begins at home and hopefully continues for a lifetime.
If you have an infant or preschool child or grandchild, you need to read to them daily. Kindergarten teachers can tell who has been read to and who hasn’t. Of course everyone is so busy with work, housework and barn chores that it’s difficult to find the time to read. But sitting down to read gives you a needed rest and helps your child even more. Looking back, the time I spent reading with our kids are some of my favorite memories.
For an older child who can read, you need to visit the library on a regular basis and have their favorite books available at home. The more they read the better. At this age there are also hundreds of learning experiences that you and they can choose from such as piano or dance lessons. 4-H projects that help young people learn how to sew, cook, do woodworking, raise a pig or ride a horse is fun” learning by doing” for them as well as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or church youth groups.
Nearly all of these activities provide positive learning experiences (as well as a good amount of reading), but the child needs to be encouraged not pushed if he or she decides that gymnastics or showing a calf is just not for them.
As for teenagers, they still need to have a chance to read without the television or cell phone on. And by now they may have some very definite interests or hobbies started that may even turn into future careers.
These young adults are also old enough to start appreciating some of the skills and knowledge that their parents and grandparents have. Whether it’s how to make applesauce, run a sawmill, or can tomatoes, the younger generation needs to have the chance to learn from their families. It not only passes on skills that they may use some day, but it also gives them a sense of belonging and their place in the family history.
And as parents and grandparents, we also need to keep learning too—it’s never too late to start a new hobby or learn a new skill. It can be from a friend, a book, on-line, or a magazine. Learning something new is supposed to keep our older brains in better shape. Some studies even suggest that learning something new can halt the dreaded progression of dementia and other horrible brain diseases. It’s been proven that exercise will keep an older body in shape, well; this is exercise to keep our brains in shape.
We all deserve at least a little time to spend on something that interests us personally. When I have time someday, my favorite hobby will probably involve reading. If you make education a part of your daily life, the whole family will benefit from it.
Kathy Smith is a farm wife from Wayne Township. She writes for the Ashtabula County Farm Bureau.