One of the people I idolize the most is my grandfather, the late Don Jackson. For as long as I can remember Grandpa as we called him was always a soft spoken, in fact to this day I cannot ever remember him raising his voice more than your basic conversational tone. I hung on every word that my grandfather ever said. He was always good for passing on his wisdom, as most grandfathers were known for, but his always seemed pin pointed for whatever I was going through at the time. One conversation we had a long while back revolved over me cooking with him. I was around 10-12 years old and spending the day with him and I was cooking some grilled cheese in his kitchen. He was there monitoring me while I used the stove. While I was eating my food, and I forget the context for which he said this, he dropped this pearl: “Kyle no matter how old you are, you should try to learn something new each day. Never stop learning Kyle, because if you don’t that means you’re not living.” When he started showing signs of Alzheimer’s while I was in college, I knew it was a matter of time before grandpa would not be able to have these really great quotes and pearls of wisdom. One of my last conversations I had with grandpa before the disease complete robbed him of his lively hood he came back to this quote, “Read as many books as you can. Read as many types of books as you can. Never stop reading and never stop learning young man.” I have to believe that my grandpa came back to this quote for a reason, but it was and still is something that resonates with me to this day. Grandpa went on to live for another 4-5 years before succumbing to Alzheimer’s in September 2017.
Never stop learning Kyle, because if you don’t that means you’re not livingGrandpa Don Jackson c.2002
My grandfather’s words Never Stop Learning has been words I have tried to live by for the last several years. Being a math teacher, I am constantly aware of the fact that I have much to learn about ways to engage my students in the material as well as making the my content relevant to them. As someone who is trying their hand at writing, I am constantly learning the best ways to make my stories and characters leap from the page. As a man, who is on this journey of reflection and discovery, I owe it to myself to learn about myself and be better for myself than I was the previous day. Life does have worthwhile lessons to teach all of us. Be it with the people we interact with each day or the experiences we live through, life is often times the best teacher we will have. Yes, the lessons are sometimes cruel and don’t make a ton of sense. And no, there’s not always a summative assessment (test) we are working towards, but each day we have the opportunity to apply our trade at what makes us capable people. I encourage you today and always to never stop searching for those opportunities to learn and grow as a person.
Take care and Be well!
P.S. I know that this is a “mile marker” post and usually they are longer, but I am battling a cold right now and my energy to write has been fleeting. I promise that the last post will more than make up for it. Thanks for understanding