Here in Alabama, school is back in session. Students from the Kindergarten level to the university level are back in the classroom ready for the new school year. As my children started school last week, I saw a shift in our family that reflects this new season. We have spent the last week talking about new friends, new teachers and new rules. Our children have also turned their attention to the new things they are already learning at school. They are eager to learn and are proud to share their new found knowledge with us. Their desire to learn new things reminds me just how important it is to always be teachable and pursuing wisdom.
The Book of Proverbs begins in Chapter 1 by giving the reader a clear understanding of the importance of being teachable by explaining that the purpose and theme of the book is for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction for sensible behavior and doing what is right, just and fair (Proverbs 1:1-3, NIV). The chapter goes on to say that the wise should listen and add to their learning.
So I know that it’s important to be a lifelong learner but how do I do that? As Christians, our first and most valuable resource is God our Father. I know that when I spend time in prayer with Him and asking God to give me wisdom, He does not fail to provide it. James 1:5 tells us that if we ask, God will give us wisdom. In order to continue learning, it’s crucial to spend time in prayer and reading scriptures.
The next step to continual learning is to seek out people you trust who are wise, knowledgeable and pursuing excellence. This can be done in the form of spending time together with people who are wise, reading books or even listening to podcasts. Proverbs tells us that just as iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17NIV). I remember attending basketball camp in junior high and being taught this principle in relation to shooting free throws. The coach had to re-teach one of the players to shoot so she could have proper form. He asked her who taught her to shoot the way she did, because she learned it the wrong way! He told the players in the entire camp to make sure that we learn from people who know the skills of the game; otherwise we may learn the wrong things. Surrounding yourself with the right people is crucial to learning and pursuing wisdom.
Another step to being teachable and becoming wiser is to be willing to learn from the successes and failures that we experience and see others experience. In every role in my life (wife, mom, friend, employee) I know that I am going to make mistakes and have failures. In those roles, my successes and failures affect everyone around me. Personally, I don’t like to fail so my preference is to watch my family, friends and co-workers who are successful and model my behaviors from theirs. Hopefully, as I gain knowledge and wisdom in every area of my life, I will have more successes than failures.
My prayer is that I will always be willing to follow these steps so that I can have a heart that is teachable and be wise in my life.Gisella Sharp
North Alabama Social Worker