to learn and to grow

Activated - - NEWS - Sa­muel Keat­ing Ex­ec­u­tive Ed­i­tor

Chil­dren are nat­u­ral learn­ers. As long as their ba­sic needs are met, their thirst for new in­for­ma­tion and ex­pe­ri­ences is bound­less. If they’re happy and have in­ter­est­ing things to do and safe places in which to do them, that’s even bet­ter.

Neu­ro­science re­search tells us that 90% of a child’s brain devel­op­ment oc­curs at a light­ning-fast pace be­tween birth and the age of five. Chil­dren soak up in­for­ma­tion and skills from what they see and hear oth­ers do and through their own trial and er­ror. Ev­ery sight, smell, sound, and sen­sa­tion makes an im­pact. Long be­fore their first step into a class­room, their neu­rons are build­ing net­works, their cog­ni­tion is ex­plod­ing, their lan­guage skills are de­vel­op­ing, and they’re lay­ing the foun­da­tion for a life­time of learn­ing.

But for many of us that tor­rent of learn­ing turns into a gen­tle stream and even­tu­ally a trickle. Life hap­pens. Stress and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties cloud our minds, and our own growth and learn­ing take a back step to things that seem more im­por­tant—or in any case, more ur­gent.

It was Gandhi who said, “Learn as if you were to live for­ever.” Even though our time on earth is lim­ited, we’re not meant to stop grow­ing and learn­ing. Part of find­ing and sus­tain­ing hap­pi­ness is re­main­ing open to new things as time passes, though it’s not al­ways easy to do this.

Some of the great­est mo­ments in life re­volve around learn­ing some­thing, no mat­ter how small it may be. Light-bulb mo­ments like Maria de­scribes in her ar­ti­cle on pp. 4–6 can dra­mat­i­cally im­prove our phys­i­cal lives, while spir­i­tual growth can re­new our vi­sion and faith, as Joyce brings out on pp. 8–9.

I hope you en­joy th­ese and the other ar­ti­cles in this is­sue of Ac­ti­vated.

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