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Young at Mind
Photo: Lisa F. Young
You've heard about staying young at heart, and that's good. But what about staying young at mind?

Recently, I took a group of young children on a field trip to the fire department. I thought I knew everything about fire safety already, but listening to the fire chief share safety tips as well as other facts about fires gave me new information that I found very interesting.

This is just one example of how we tend to carry a belief that learning is for the young. When a child is young, she knows very little and any new thing is a bit of knowledge to embrace and store. This continues through the school years. But when school is completed, it seems we tend to concentrate on applying the knowledge we have already attained and slow down in attaining new knowledge.

It's a rip-off. We still have the capacity to learn throughout our entire lives. We humans only use a small percentage of the potential that our brains have for learning. So, to slow the learning process is more of a choice than a necessity. Making an effort to keep learning new things is not only good exercise for our physical brains, but it is also a wonderful way to stay young.

Consider these suggestions for expanding your knowledge base:

1. Go to the library once a week.
Don't stay in the same section. Spend one visit in the gardening section, for example. Just because you may be a master gardener by now doesn't mean there isn't still more to learn. Next time, visit the “how-to” books. Surely you don't know how to do everything! Volunteer to read a book for the children's story time. You might be surprised at what you learn, and if you do learn something new, be sure to tell the children so. That way, they will have a positive outlook on lifetime learning.

2. Pick a topic of interest and do an Internet search. You'll probably find that time speeds by as you visit the different sites for that topic.

3. Subscribe to a new magazine. I subscribe to Martha Stewart Living because I love homemaking. I always learn wonderful and fun tips in each issue, which I end up sharing with other people. As a family we subscribe to National Geographic. I admit that I haven't had as much interest in this, but that is the very reason I need to commit to sitting down with it and soaking it up.

4. Study the Bible. Choose a topic, get a concordance and a couple of different versions of the Bible,and really dig in. God's Word is an inexhaustible source of knowledge, wisdom, and peace.

5. Listen more. I'm surprised at how much I can learn from all types of people if I will stop talking and just listen.
Choose television programs carefully. There are some programs that are excellent sources of learning. But beware the brain-dead programming that simply puts your brain to sleep.

Are you ready to be young at mind? The library is most likely open as you read this. If not, God's Word is waiting to be unlocked. The key is in your hand.

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By Gwen Scott Simmons. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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