The president of my university says this. “The most effective people are learners rather than knowers. Knowers, assuming they have arrived, draw only on what they have learned. Learners, on the other hand, never stop adjusting, adapting, and adding to their advantages.”
When I’m open to learning, I learn. When I “already know it all,” I don’t learn. There’s a sweetness about the learners in my life. There’s a rigidness about the knowers. We can think we know God, for example, then be shocked to learn something new about him. Why is that? Love Incarnate will never stop surprising us. Why cut that short with no-thanks-I’ve-got-this?
I think there are a few reasons why we MUST be learners. 1) There’s an onslaught of new information (or at least new to us). Can you imagine forming an opinion about Critical Race Theory, for example, before finding out what it is? 2) Since we live in a post-truth era, we need to work harder than ever to ascertain objective truth. 3) Staying open to learning keeps us humble, curious and even delight-full. (Nobody likes being around a know-it-all.) 4) Occasionally, we learn things that change our minds, because we’ve gotten new or better information. And that’s more than ok. It’s healthy. I’ll admit that it has happened to me. And 5) What’s the alternative? When we stop growing, we die.
Maya Angelou said this about learning. “I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. (And) I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.”
I resonate with her. The older I get, the quieter I get. That’s because I have so much learning to do.