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Home > Education, News/Opinion, Tips > Lifetime learning – your children are watching!

Lifetime learning – your children are watching!

February 1st, 2012

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Last week I wrote a column about lifetime learning. It seems to be gaining attention in the general world and I think that is a great thing. I saw a blog post today that highlighted some great resources but then mentioned how their own children, 3-4-years-old couldn’t really benefit from these resources.

Yes, that can! The best way that children, even very young children, can benefit from lifetime learning is by watching YOU! Children are sponges that soak up everything around you — your speech patterns, your attitudes, your likes and dislikes. even if you don’t realize it, children are also closely observing what you find important. When they see you learning — in its many forms — it establishes a norm in their minds. They begin to see that learning is something you always do. They see learning as something everyone does, no matter what their age. They see that learning isn’t simply something that happens in grade school or university.

As an example, my son finds it quite normal to visit the library on a nearly weekly basis. My wife and I are big readers and he has gone to the library with us since he was born. He has friends who never visit the library, or only do so when absolutely necessary for schoolwork. It wasn’t that we conciously  modeled this behavior, but model it we did.

You can and should be the same with lifetime learning. Show your children interesting videos, articles and, eventually, books. Show them that experiments are something that are just done in a companies lab. Teach them that every moment of every day can teach us something, if we only pay attention.

No matter how young your children — and I say the younger you start the better — show them that lifetime learning is an integral part of your life and theirs. This simple step could have enormous benefits to them as they grow older. Someone who is constantly learning has great advantage to those who don’t. Beyond the personal benefits, lifetime learning has the potential to create a society of amazing citizens, all dedicated to learning and then putting that learning to use through great creations, organizations and projects.

Photo: My son, Joseph, watching the scientists dig at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, CA

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