Nearly every time our family dropped by to visit grandma and grandpa Johnson, grandpa was engrossed in reading. Most of the time it was a non-fiction book about a topic of current interest or a technical book about something he felt great curiosity.
Grandma was quite sharp, too. In her younger years, she had taught at a rural Northeast Nebraska grade school. Grandma often stressed the importance of a good education. Even though she wasn’t as bookish as grandpa, she did keep up to date on most issues.
Both grandparents nurtured these values in all of us grandchildren. In one way or another, their curiosity and drive to learn rubbed off on most of us. I feel a great deal of gratitude for their influence.
Grandpa liked to share his copies of “Popular Mechanics” with my cousins and me. The magazines were filled with timely articles about every topic from agricultural advancements, to car tests, to the Space Program. Many times, these magazines inspired grandpa to check books out from the public library so he could educate himself in depth.
I’m sure my grandparents would appreciate and enthusiastically promote “Self-University Week”. The first week of September has been set aside to remind us that we have the responsibility and the means to pursue lifelong education. Continuing education is available at little or no financial cost to everyone. There is no legitimate excuse for us to remain uneducated and ill-informed about current events and subjects that fascinate us.
Many regional trade schools, community colleges, universities, and public libraries offer classes at little or no cost. They are scheduled for times that are convenient for most folks. These give us the opportunity to learn subjects in-depth in an organizational setting. There are even non-credit on-line courses available at low or no cost, from major universities for people who are more serious about their continuing education.
Grandma J liked to remind us that education is not something that you finish. There is always something important to learn that will help us live better, happier lives. There is no reason we should restrict ourselves to borrowed opinions and hearsay. She said good citizens educate themselves about all sides of important issues for themselves from various sources.
Many of us discover that learning is easier and frequently better after we’ve reached adulthood. For instance, during public school and college, my arithmetic and mathematics skills were abysmal. Later on, I took a for-credit algebra course at the local community college. I earned straight A’s. Afterwards, I went on to study pre-calculus on my own from a textbook I bought on eBay. I feel more well-rounded by better understanding mathematics.
One of the best ways to pursue self-improvement is to expand our educational horizons. It is possible to effectively gain a well-rounded education and continue it well into our senior years. Pick any subject that fascinates you then go ahead and investigate it.