There are lots of cliches that try to convey the idea that if you want someone to do something, you should do it yourself first. Lead by example, as it were. We often tell the young people in our lives that learning is a life-long endeavor, but how often do we as parents, educators, older siblings, or other family members demonstrate this kind of behavior?
I’m not suggesting that adults aren’t constantly in the process of learning new things. In fact, I’ve found that as an adult I’m more aware of the learning opportunities in my life than when I was a child. However, I don’t think that adults necessarily take the time to discuss the role learning plays in their lives as explicitly as they should.
So the next time you head to a work training or a new exercise class or even read a new book, talk to a child about it. The next time at the dinner table you ask your child how his or her day at school was, offer up your own answer in response. By making education a discussion where everyone participates in the exchange rather than a monologue where a child is forced to recite what he or she has learned, maybe we can make learning a more fully-integrated part of life.