Archive for Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Shouts and Murmurs: Striving to know all we can know

May 15, 2002

Let the learning continue!

Area high school seniors will receive their diplomas this week. But that doesn't mean they are finished learning. Some will go on to college, some to trade schools, and some straight into the military or workforce. But all will continue learning.

Whether we look to our families, friends or others, role models for learning are everywhere.

My Aunt Marie (Huey), who lives in Tonganoxie, could be an inspiration to us all. Out of respect for the lovely lady, I won't mention her age. But I will mention her lifelong love for learning. She spent her career years in education, working as a teacher, a school principal and later as a special education instructor. Just because she is retired doesn't mean she has stopped learning. In recent years she has been studying one of her favorite topics, the Civil War. In fact, Sunday afternoon as Aunt Marie was leaving our house after a Mother's Day dinner, she reminded everyone to watch a documentary about the Civil War on PBS that night.

And then there's Mom. For as long as I can remember, Mom has liked nothing better than to learn something new and, unlike her eldest daughter, she had the patience to put anything together if she had a good set of instructions. When home computers came into being, Mom quickly adapted to the new technology and in fact, had a computer long before most of her six children did.

There's my father, who learns each day from the medical journals he reads and from the people he meets. And, at home in the evenings, he is an avid listener to books on tape which is a wonderful way to absorb literature while having hands free to do other things.

Area community centers continually hold classes on crafts, activities and exercises. In our area a group of singers, the Kaw Valley Community Choir, which includes teen-agers and octogenarians, each year learns new songs to perform for the public.

So, just because we have a diploma in our hands doesn't mean we're no longer students. And fortunately, because we are lifelong students, we find teachers everywhere we look.

From the garden shop owner who teaches us how to make our gardens bloom to the auto mechanic who teaches us how to make our cars last longer, to the banker who gives investment advice, to the minister in the pulpit, teachers are everywhere.

Chances are, every person you meet on the street knows something about life that he or she could teach you.

Every time I go out on an interview I learn something new from the people I talk to. In fact this is one of the most wonderful things about working with the public.

As humans we share an interconnectedness we don't usually think about a basic yearning to know more about our world.

This week as we watch our graduates take their diplomas, turn the tassels on their mortar boards and leave the familiarity of a home they've known, we can rest assured. With the blessing of their innate curiosity about the world in which we live and the help of others to show them the way, to inspire them, their educations will go on.

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