Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Self-Education Possible?

I was reading through a site called the Power of Moms. They have a weekly question and this week's one hit close to home for me. A woman wrote in saying that she was a stay at home mom while her husband was pursuing a graduate degree. She felt that he was passing her by intellectually and that she often felt uneducated while socializing at his work parties. They couldn't afford to have her go back to school and she didn't want to leave raising her child to another so she posed the question of how she could advance her learning while still raising her son? image source

I have often thought of this myself. After Aaron graduated from one of the top business schools in the country he passed his CPA exam and joined with one of the "Big 4" accounting firms. Now he is moving up the corporate ladder one day at a time and find myself looking further and further up the road to see his little form moving ahead. I don't want to be left behind. But I also acknowledge that I am where I am supposed to be right now (at home).

At the wedding this weekend I found myself talking with friends and family of the bride and groom and after talking about my daughter, where we lived, the basics, I felt like that was all I had to offer. So we kept the conversation geared towards their work, their pursuit of another job, the pros and cons of what they do etc.. and I realized how sheltered I'd been lately with my local girlfriends where we talk all day long about our kids and running the household. Now, there is nothing wrong with that. But when it came time to talk with people who were walking differently through life I felt strangely behind and lacking in accomplishments.

The answers women posted provided many great ideas, some of which I've decided to implement myself:

1) Subscribe to monthly journals from the field you graduated in. Or, I could add, take up reading the local paper, the NYTimes or Wall Street Journal.

2) Take an evening class at a local community college once or twice a week.

3) Keep in mind that life won't be this way for long. Kids grow up!

4) Read more nonfiction as opposed to novels or 'beach reads'

5) Learn a new craft, skill or sport. It keeps your mind sharp and in the pattern of learning.

6) Take an online class (BYU offers free personal enrichment courses)

7) Take this time to learn from your children. You can learn a lot of things at this time in life that you couldn't otherwise in an institution like a university.

8) The book A Thomas Jefferson Education ( learn education a traditional way.

9) Create a place to record the things you learn everyday. Such as journaling, scrapbooking or a notebook to write down things you learn. If you're in a book group, jot down notes to make your reading approach more analytic.

10) Motherhood is a career. Look up and find out ways you can be the best person for the job.

11). Find something you're interested in, gardening, another language, swimming, sewing etc. Take up a challenge. Research the heck out of it during your spare time through the internet, library, others in that field, a specific group that meets each month. When you've mastered it, move onto the next interest you have.

12) Make a list of the "classics" and read one novel at a time. (Aaron is actually doing this and I'm amazed the list of books he has read and will be reading)

13). Susan Wise Bauer's book The Well Educated Mind.

14). "Books with a goal". A woman had the GOAL of parent teaching gymnastics to children. Then she RESEARCHED 100's of books. EXPERIENCED taking her kids to local gymnastics classes to see what she liked and didn't like. READ online articles about child development, left brain, right brain development etc. All towards her aforementioned goal.

This Q & A session gave me so much insight into what I can also do while raising Toothless. Do you have any other ideas? Something you're working on now?

*disclaimer: this is in no way implying that motherhood is not "enough", that you have to be worldly to be accomplished or that Aaron is leaving me in the dust. It is simply a list of ideas suggested for one who feels the urge to broaden their intellect and capabilities while maintaining their primary duties be it in the home or at work.


  1. All of these are great ideas. I so believe in continuing to learn and try new things, with the main goal of just being happy and keeping the spirit with me at all times. Some of the most boring people I have talked to, are so full of themselves and their awesome education, that they are not well rounded at all and come off boring! So, I say keep learning and be happy and serve and love others.
    I also love this...Secular learning should always be balanced with spiritual learning. There is spiritual learning just as there is material learning, and one without the other is not complete; speaking for myself, if I could have only one sort of learning, that which I would take would be the learning of the spirit, because in the hereafter I shall have opportunity in the eternities which are to come to get the other, without spiritual learning here my handicaps in the hereafter would be all but overwhelming. :D

  2. Julie thank you so much for that insight. A great reminder of the things that should come first and that this life is a time to prepare. I like how you mentioned serving and loving others. The greatest feelings of fulfillment happen after I've performed service in some way. I'd add that much of what I learn about myself and others are from service as well more than from any book I've ever read.

  3. Love Julie's comment, as well. Her feelings and insight match my own. Life is for living,learning, serving and loving others. And I agree...service is one of the most profound and beautiful gifts we have to offer to our fellow man. It is like a give and serve from your heart and soul and somehow, someway, it washes over you, too! Such joy!
    Life is for learning all kinds of things. We are so lucky for opportunities to stretch become well-rounded. I know for myself, spiritual knowledge balances and makes sense out of my secular knowledge. They work together in a marvelous way and allow us to live our earthly lives more fully.
    Good post, Jenna. I liked thinking about what you had to say, Especially, as a young mother who is spirtual, smart, and creative...very good thoughts and obervation. xoxo


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