Albert Einstein once said, “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” When we are young, learning is one of those things in life that occurs naturally. What we see, do and experience fills our developing brains with knowledge. As we become experienced in life, remaining open to learning and development can be a challenge. The more comfortable we are with our position, accomplishments, and knowledge, the harder it is to remain teachable. After all, age fosters independence and independence fosters rigidity. In a traditional sense, we tend to learn from someone who we view as wiser than us, at least in a particular subject. Although, I always enjoy it when the simplicity of a child’s perspective becomes a teaching moment for the much older family members. We are trained that the more experienced people always train the less experienced. While this model makes sense for a lot of scenarios, it can be counterproductive for our continued development throughout life. As difficult as it may be, remaining teachable plays a big role in our continued growth and success.
Regardless of our learning habits, we tend to look at learning one dimensionally. Our learning seems to be focused on the humans around us that we value and respect. These people, coupled with the experiences in our daily lives, tend to be our primary source of learning. But are we missing the greatest teacher of all? Matthew 16:13-17 NLT says, When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah,[b] the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John,[c] because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. For me, this story is a teaching moment all by itself. Jesus makes it clear that Peter’s knowledge could not have come from any human. Rather, it was a divine revelation. Peter was not focused on learning just from those that were physically present around him. Rather, he was focused on gaining understanding from God himself. While the rest of the disciples remained confused and were relying on the opinions of those around them, Peter was setting the example of what multidimensional learning is all about. This is a powerful example of gaining knowledge from the source of real truth and wisdom.
Learning is not always easy. Winston Churchill said, “I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.” It is the harder lessons in life that are usually the most impactful to our future. Have you ever thought about your openness to learning and who you are learning the most from? Psalms 32:8 NLT says, “The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” It is hard to be guided and advised if we are not open to learning regardless of our age, position, or circumstances. It is even more difficult to be guided and advised by the ultimate source of truth and wisdom if we don’t have a relationship with Him.