July 2019

Lifelong learning…those words seem to go together well, don’t they? Hopefully each of us makes lifelong learning a goal. So often we think that learning happens mainly during our school years. The truth is we start learning before we are even born! And we can continue learning as long as we live if we keep an open mind.

Learning is the process of acquiring new knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences, or changing those we already have. Humans and animals can learn. Did you know that some plants and machines can learn, too? Sometimes we learn things immediately, such as not to touch a hot stove. Other learning takes hours of practice, study, and repetition.

Sister Valerie Sweeney, SND
Chief Mission Leader at Jennings

We all have different styles of learning, and different talents or strengths that make it easy to learn music, a new language, quantum physics, or plumbing. There are various kinds of learning, such as active learning, observational, formal, multimedia learning, and many more. PLAY is considered one of the first forms of learning.

Learning often requires a teacher—someone who has already mastered the material and who can impart the knowledge or skill to those who wish to learn it. We are all teachers and students at different times in our lives.

  • Did you ever learn something you didn’t think it would be possible for you to learn? Describe the experience.
  • What is your best way to learn something new?
  • What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in life?
  • What/who in life has been your most valuable teacher?

We have so many opportunities for lifelong learning here at Jennings. The children in The Learning Circle, residents, family members, and staff—all of us can learn something new each and every day if we put our minds to it. Let’s keep learning ourselves and helping others to learn in whatever way we can.

by Sister Valerie Sweeney, SND
Chief Mission Leader