Not sure if I’m having grad school withdrawals, but I’ve picked up a book that’s not romance or chick lit. It’s “The Soul of America: The Battle for our Better Angels” by Jon Meacham. He’s a presidential historian and on MSNBC sometimes as a contributor. I think he’s pretty smart, so I decided to get his latest book.
It looks back on periods in American history and how different presidents handled situations during their administrations, played against the background of current politics in the country. I finished the book the other day, and although it’s a little dry—it’s American history—it’s interesting, but I’ve had to look up a few things on Wikipedia.
For some reason, my history education didn’t really make it past World War II, so anything from the 1950s and on, I don’t know much about. I’m looking things up for a general understanding so I know what I’m actually reading about.
But it’s awesome that we can keep on learning things, even after school stops. I know that sounds like common sense, of course, we can keep learning once we leave school, but now we’re on our own and we can explore different topics we might not have covered or been interested in while we were in school.
I had to take a history class in college, and it was called something like United States History to 1877—it was a requirement since I was in the school of Arts & Sciences. It was as boring as it sounded. All I can remember is my professor yelling about Roanoke. Because he yelled his lectures. Not sure why. But that history doesn’t interest me whatsoever. So now I can learn about time periods that appeal to me.
Learning new things isn’t just restricted to book learning. You can find a new hobby that you want to try. There’s nothing stopping you from taking up crocheting. Or learning pottery. Or archery. Or running. There’s no limit to what you can do, and I think learning a bunch of random things is great, because knowledge is power, right? (Sorry for the cliche.)
I remember throughout high school they always preached to us about being lifelong learners but I always brushed it off as something teachers had to say. Now I realize they were on to something. We have the rest of our lives to learn stuff they didn’t teach us, that’s pretty cool.
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My high school’s motto or whatever was “Responsible citizens, lifelong learners” and your comment made me laugh when you said “lifelong learners” haha
Jon Meacham is from my hometown of Chattanooga. He is a terrific historian and author.