When I was expecting our first child, I spent a lot of time observing other people’s children from a distance. Many of the children seemed to have little interest in learning about the world. I had no way to determine whether it was simply a matter of personality or environment—or the result of too many hours in front of electronic screens, dulling their senses.
One thing I knew for sure: more than anything else (except for loving Jesus), I wanted my child to love to learn. I wanted him to have a thirst for knowledge, a thirst to know, a longing to understand and be understood.
And oh my, did I get what I prayed for! He is a sponge. He wants to know everything there is to know . . . about everything that can be known. Every child asks questions, but this one asks 10,000 times more. He wants to understand how engines work, how plants grow, how every machine operates. His curiosity, his zeal, his thirst for knowledge is off the charts.
Unfortunately, we adults are sometimes too much like dull little children who have no desire to learn. Maybe we once did, but the hardships and difficulties of life have drained it out of us. As ministry spouses, we have different ways of approaching life in the pastoral fishbowl. Some wives have remarkable opportunities for formal training and education. Others have few opportunities for advancement in the areas that interest us. But that shouldn’t prevent us from learning.
The most important quality for becoming an educated person is a longing to learn. If you have a thirst for knowledge, nothing can stop you. It does not matter whether or not you have access to a university education or can afford private classes or training. If you love to learn, you can view every opportunity in life as the equivalent of university. If you have a humble heart to improve yourself, then every chance for feedback becomes a chance for growth. If you view feedback as a gift rather than a threat; if you broaden your horizons by embracing relationships with those older, wiser, and more experienced; if you focus on maximizing every chance, every book, every conversation as avenues for self-improvement and education— then you too can grow at every turn.
By embracing the lessons God sends you and by cultivating a lifelong thirst for learning, you can enjoy the benefits of constant, ongoing growth—perhaps at a level greater than those who have unfettered access to the world’s finest universities—simply because of your state of mind.