A Lifetime Learner

Today I'm linking up with the SITS "Back to Blogging Event" and Mama Kat's writing prompt and writing about a woman who inspires me.

There are so many women who inspire me, it was really hard to choose just one. But then I read Simple Mom's post about "8 Ways to Pursue a Lifetime of Learning" and that reminded me of my mom.

The first  of  the 8 ways listed is reading, and the second is reading quality. One of my very favorite memories of growing up is our family sitting comfortably around the living room listening as mom read to us. She took pains to find quality books: Newbury Award winners and classics like Johny Tremain, Where the Red Fern Grows, Oliver Twist, Treasure Island,Swiss Family Robinson and my personal favorite, Kidnapped. I remember mom telling me that she didn't used to read many classics. At some point when she and dad were newly married, they listened to some books on tape, and I think that's when she discovered that they weren't so bad after you got past all the descriptive stuff, especially true of Charles Dickens'.  Because mom started us early on good books, none of us ever had an affinity for "fluffy" novels. And even now, I can't read any Lori Wick books or past the first Twilight book because they bug the crap out of me. It's not even that they're poorly written, it's just that they aren't excellently written, and my brain gets hung up on the wordy sentences or passive verbs. Anyway, I've never known my mom to read anything but quality.

The third suggestion is that when you watch TV, to watch quality. From the time I was 11 until the present day, we don't have TV. We have a TV, but no channels. Even when we did get channels, mom didn't watch TV. My mom's philosophy on cable was that it would just cause us to get sucked into wasting lots of time watching shows that we "couldn't miss." Plus, TV wasn't good for the brain; or at least definitely not as good as reading. The only shows I've known my mom to watch are classics on DVD, like Gilligan's Island or The Waltons.

When one of my brothers first started having seizures my mom learned just about everything there was to know about epilepsy. She learned to stand up to doctors and nurses. She learned to track and record the details. She learned about the medications and treatment options, and she learned to cope. That's not to say that she, or any of our family, will ever be totally ok with it, it's an ongoing process, but we do survive, and take one day at a time.

She continues to learn about non-traditional treatments, supplements, and natural remedies.From digestive issues to ADHD, she probably knows of a supplement that might help. She also has extensive knowledge on Fetal Alcoholism Syndrome, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and a host of other psychological/genetic illnesses. A few years ago, she took charge of her own health and started an exercise program and learned more about healthy eating, and nutrition.

#6 is to keep up with news, and my mom stays abreast of political issues in addition to Christians in persecution.

#7 is to make lists. Mom makes lots of lists: home remodeling goals, summer activities for the kids, in addition to shopping lists.

Something that's not listed that could be is learning new skills. My mom does all sorts of crafts. I mean, all sorts. Crosstitching, knitting, crocheting, sewing, rubber stamping, jewelry making and quilting to name a few, but she has books about the others she would like to learn, such as woodworking, wood burning, tin-smithing, painting, ribbon embroidery, millinery, spinning yarn, and stained glass. There's probably a lot more that I've forgotten!

I would also add to the list "Teaching Someone Else." From my experience, you learn the most when you try to explain it to someone else, not just about the topic but about yourself, others, communication, and motivation. My mom has taught music classes at the Christian school, as well as lessons on voice, piano, and violin. She also homeschooled my sisters and I through high school, except for some language, art, math, and science classes. With my brothers' learning disabilities, it's been much harder, but even now that they aren't technically homeschooled, she still tutors them with the areas they struggle with.

She's learning to let her children grow up and go off to college and get married, so now she can learn to be a grandmother to the cutest baby alive! (No offense to other babies, but I'm her aunt, it's part of my job to be biased).

If you aren't already participating in either of the link-ups, tell us about a woman who inspires you!


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