By Michelle Medlock Adams
“The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you.” B. B. King
Listen…do you hear it? It’s the collective sound of #2 pencils being sharpened nationwide. Yes, it’s that time of year again—almost time to send the kiddos back to school. But, why should our children be the only ones in the household gearing up for learning? As Christians, we should always strive for excellence. We should choose to be students of the Word, literature, history, the Arts, etc. We should be people who are committed to improving our minds and challenging ourselves so that we can ultimately improve the world around us, right?
JoAnna Kai Cobb, a middle school math teacher in Bedford, IN., says, “Yes.”
“I list ‘learning new things’ at the top of my hobby list,” she explains. “I love to learn in every realm: academically, creatively, socially, etc. It helps make life interesting and gives me invaluable experience to help me in many situations.”
“Learning to sing well has helped me be more confident and learn to speak in front of large crowds,” she says.
“And, learning to run has made me healthier and has given me more stamina for simple jobs like carrying the laundry up and down the stairs!
For instance, Cobb has studied vocal performance and honed her singing talent, so much so, she’s even won several awards in that arena. She was named the “Lawrence County (American) Idol,” beating out other talented Southern Indiana performers, and she placed in the Colgate Country Showdown. Not only that, Cobb has sung the National Anthem at an Indiana Pacers game, an Indy Fuel hockey game, and many Indianapolis Indians Baseball games.
But Cobb isn’t one to rest on her laurels. She’s constantly challenging herself. For example, she really wanted to learn to run competitively in 2006, so she sought out the help of area runners who were training for a spring mini marathon. She trained all winter and completed her first half marathon in May 2007. Since then, she has run a total of 27 half marathons and four full marathons, logging a lifetime total of more than 8,000 miles.
“Learning to sing well has helped me be more confident and learn to speak in front of large crowds,” she says. “And, learning to run has made me healthier and has given me more stamina for simple jobs like carrying the laundry up and down the stairs! However, the thing I enjoy most about lifelong learning is that life is never boring.”
So, join Cobb in her quest for learning and take an online course or join a bible study group or take an art class at the community center or learn to run competitively. Determine to increase your knowledge, expand your mind, and challenge yourself every day. It’s never too late to be a better you!
Five Quick Study Tips: Ready, Set, Study!
If you’ve made the quality decision to further your formal education or participate in an intense bible study, you actually have to…er, um, STUDY! If you’ve been out of the learning game a while, you might find easing back into the studying arena a bit overwhelming. So here are five quick study tips to help you on your way.
Set a study schedule Pencil it on your calendar alongside your child’s soccer games and doctor appointments. Or type it into your Smartphone. You’ll be more apt to keep your study times if you treat them as official appointments.
Study alone before group study Even if you’re part of a study group that meets to cram for tests or simply study the Word of God together, make sure you spend time going over the material by yourself before doing the group study thing.
Set goals and reward your efforts If your goal this season is to read through the entire New Testament and you accomplish that feat, reward yourself! You deserve it!
Get a study buddy A study buddy isn’t necessarily someone you study with for major exams, but it should be someone you’re accountable to on a regular basis. Let your study buddy/accountability partner know your weekly goals, then have set “check-in” times to discuss your progress.
Don’t procrastinate We’ve all done it. You wait until the night before a huge paper is due and then begin researching and writing—not exactly a good plan. So, plan ahead and allow yourself enough time to absorb the information.
About the author
Michelle Medlock Adams is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author, earning top honors from the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Hoosier State Press Association.