Sunday, April 14, 2013

Still Learning

By Carla Foote

Apparently when Michelangelo (painter, sculptor, architect, poet – original Renaissance man) was 87 years old he said, “Ancora imparo” – I am still learning.

I reflected on keeping a learning posture last week, when I was at the pool locker room, suiting up for my lap swim. I was chatting with a woman just a few years younger than me; she was getting ready for her final lifeguarding class. Wow – a class with a bunch of teenagers and one woman who was close to 50 years old! That is a learning posture.

I thought about her while I went back and forth, back and forth, doing my laps. I thought about all the reasons some of us stop learning when we get over (fill in the blank for age). And then I thought about all the reasons to keep on learning.

Reasons to stop learning (most of us won’t articulate these, but they are in the back of our minds when we step back rather than forward towards a learning opportunity):
·         Fear – of what others will think, of looking stupid, of being wrong, of not being able to accomplish whatever we want to learn
·         Time – to accomplish something new, we need to set aside time, make it a priority and stop doing activities that are less meaningful
·         Settling – the comfort and safety of the known can cause us to settle for staying stuck, rather than trying new things
·         Lack of imagination – we have never pictured ourselves doing the new thing – being a lifeguard, writing a book, climbing a mountain, speaking in front of a crowd, telling our story

Reasons to keep on learning:
·         Stretching – it’s as good for our minds as it is for our muscles
·         Stewarding – we have gifts and influence we can invest for the kingdom, in every season of life
·         Serving – the lifeguard learns so she can save a life – I learn so I can serve my community in some way

I want to keep learning this month, this year, this decade, and for as many decades as I have life and breath. Sometimes I lack focus, because I want to learn so many things and I don’t have time for all of them. Then I go back to stewardship – understanding my unique season of life and my unique gifts, so I can decide where to focus my learning for now and the next that God calls me toward. Right now I’m thinking about working on my Spanish, since my daughter will be in Mexico again next year, and I’d like to be able to communicate when I visit her. Not to mention how useful it will be in my hometown.

“Ancora imparo” – I want to keep learning, stretching, stewarding and serving.

Carla Foote has recently become the blog manager for Weekly ReFill. In addition, she does freelance editing through and is Executive Editor for MomSense magazine (


  1. Thank you for the encouragement. 2 years ago at age 54 my husband and I moved to Cambodia. Our mission requires us to learn the language. It has been quite a lesson in faith, but by the grace of God we are slowly learning. My prayer is that we will continue to learn it and the culture so we can serve the people here.

  2. Ever learning ...I graduated from college at 50 and began writing a faith-based life skills curriculum for at-risk kids at age 70. Now, I'm chairing a task force to begin a health & wellness clinic in our county. The best part is learning MORE and MORE about my Lord and the Holy Spirit, who's been my teacher every step of the way.

  3. I sat next to a 60+ year old lady yesterday at my daughter's piano recital. She recently starting taking piano lessons. It made me think that we are never too old to begin something new. I think continuing to learn keeps us young and our brain active. Thanks for the post! :-)

  4. Carla,
    Thank you for the encouragement to keep on learning! I am 52 years young and am just now realizing my dream as a writer; which proves you are never too old to start anew! I pushed through the door of fear and doubt and God has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams...He's that way sometimes :)!! I encourage others to keep learning and keep dreaming. Thanks for the encouragement!
    Bev Duncan

  5. Yes, yes, Carla. Never quit learning! My husband and I are intentional at being lifelong learners. Life is so much more fun, meaningful and healthy! And God has plans for us up to the day He takes us home.

  6. As I author, I am still learning. When I return to my children's books on God's design for animals, I will learn much about different animals and how God designed each one for its environment. Now, I am writing for women, and learning more about different women. (I am 80; it's not time to stop learning.)