Rev. Wayne Walder: What Should We Learn?

by Reverend Wayne Walder

We all learn. We have been doing it since we were born. From learning how to breathe, to learning how to love, we have been learning all our lives. We know how to learn, but we are not always sure what to learn. Knowing what to learn allows us to know what is necessary, important and sustaining. Knowing what to learn allows us to build upon what we already know so that we can develop wisdom and a depth of thought.

Through media we are asked to learn about products and given more information than we could ever use. This can confuse us, making it difficult to know what we need to learn. As our lives are finite, we cannot learn everything, so we must choose what we want to learn. Look at this problem from a different point of view: imagine that you have only one year to live. (We are imagining so you don’t have to get into the grief or the sadness.) Looking forward at the ending of your life, what would you want to learn?

Would you choose how to love better? Would you choose how to listen to yourself and others? Would you learn how to build something? Would you learn how to make the world a better place?

Can you push this inquiry further? What could you learn that would give you the feeling you have lived a meaningful life? I believe this is an important question because, one day, all of us will have one year to live. Learning how to be quiet inside; learning how to kindly offer the wisdom of a life; learning how to help without resentment or prejudice; learning how to teach respect for the planet and its people: these are learnings our culture has often forgotten.

Deciding what to learn during our limited lives can give us the clarity to learn what we have always wanted to learn, how to be the best people we can be. And learning of this type is nothing short of subversive in a society that has forgotten its way.


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