Learning Is A Lifelong Habit
The recent news stories about dementia and learning disabilities (LD) make a very good case for considering a brain fitness program. I am all for learning to increase brain function and protect against the ravages of aging. However, it makes a more complete picture when we realize that this is a lifetime habit that can be maintained by adopting specific habits. Is there any way to reverse memory loss with training or perhaps through dietary modifications? I will discuss this in my next post.
It has been my experience that one of the most effective ways to avoid the negative aspects of Aging is to create a regular to-do list, at least one, that details everything that must be done and completed each day. The to-do list should be comprehensive enough to cover everything from checking the mail to shopping for food at the grocery store. Perhaps you want to plan a weekend getaway for your family to a local lake, spa or national park. Whatever the reason for creating the list, the ability to write it down and refer to it every day is a habit that can be maintained.
Another thing that we as parents can do to assist in the prevention of Aging is to encourage our children to participate in formal curriculum or unschooling. In my own informal research, I have found that, even in traditional public and private schools, most unschooled students do not participate in any formal curriculum or organized schooling activities. This is a clear issue of a lifetime habit. When a parent chooses to teach their child from birth that learning is a lifelong habit and an integral part of their lives, the child will be encouraged to participate in the same.
Perhaps, the single most important factor in reversing the loss of earning capacity as the aged increases is to provide a stimulating learning environment. One of the factors that have been identified that have a negative impact on learning ability when compared to that of children is time pressure. For children, the time pressure is often associated with being a good student in regular school, being in popular sports, performing well in music or other extracurricular activities.
In fact, those activities, while fun, do not in and of themselves stimulate a lifetime learning experience. At best, they serve as "fillers" around which a bored learning aged brain can operate. At worst, they can actually sabotage the very purpose of learning - which is to become independent and self-aware. If you, as an adult, find learning to be a lifelong habit, the amount of pressure you encounter will be minimal.
While teaching your child from birth that learning is a life long habit, you will also need to instill the same attitude and discipline into yourself. The difference between learning to be independent and self-aware in childhood and learning as an adult is practice. You need to learn how to set aside time each day to focus on learning something new, whether it be in music art, sport, writing or other areas. This will ensure that over time, your learning becomes more ingrained and more meaningful.