Can I marry someone who doesn’t have a love of learning?

In my family, education is a way of life. Both my parents are teachers, and while I think I’m going to pursue a different career at least at first, I think I may eventually want to teach later on in life. Needless to say, my parents always told me that an education was the most important thing that they could give me, and I’ve always been dedicated to learning throughout life.

Well, they say opposites attract, but I never expected this: the guy I’m dating here at school can’t wait to get out of here and start his “real life,” and he doesn’t think he ever learned much in grade school (he admits he’s learning something here, at least). It’s upsetting me, because I’m worried that if we end up together he won’t help any children we might have cultivate a love of learning. How can I change his mind?

As a Community Educator, how would you answer this?

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Foundation works to attract young people to ag careers

Lifelong learning initiatives are not just for city folks.

Introducing students to potential careers in agriculture is the goal of two major projects made possible by the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation’s Fisher Fund for Lifelong Learning. The goal is to introduce students to and prepare them for careers in agriculture, food and natural resources.

How Lifelong Learning Can Propel Your Career

Many people believe once they’ve earned all the degrees needed for their dream job, their learning days are over. This is a dangerous way to manage a career, because technologies and business models emerge and force change so rapidly.

The pace of change is accelerating, and to succeed in any industry, and to be ready to participate in the next evolution of it, professionals must adopt habits and practices that empower lifelong learning.

One challenge to lifelong learning is that many people assume they are not capable of it or not good at it. We tell ourselves, I’m not a math person. I don’t get code. Writing is not my strong suit. Remarks like this may mask a feeling that learning itself is beyond our grasp.

Nothing could be further from the truth. We can take control of our own learning with the right mindset — particularly what is called the “growth mindset,” which has had a big influence in K-12 education in recent years and should now be embraced in the business world.

A class on how to wield political clout

Or, for perhaps one of the first times in recent memory, you could take a seven-week class on how to wield your own personal political power, influence Congress and the California Assembly.

“In today’s climate, more people are interested in how to influence public policy than probably I’ve seen in my entire lifetime,” said instructor Joel Blackwell of Corte Madera. “My passion is helping people to make a difference.”

Registration opens this week for community education offerings such as Blackwell’s course, which runs 6:10 to 7:30 p.m. Thursdays starting Feb. 8 at the Kentfield campus ($116). It is designed to give students a guide on how to communicate with politicians on a human-to-human basis using handwritten letters, personal emails or one-on-one meetings. No Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, no general emails and no simple “vote yes, vote no” notices. Or angry diatribes.

Lifelong learning in a refuge camp

“Our challenge is to guarantee the right to education, lifelong learning and wellbeing of more than 370.000 refugee children”, says education in emergencies expert, Henry Renna Gallano. He is one of 20 NORCAP deployees currently working in the Bangladesh refugee camps. “It is a tall order”, he admits.

Henry Renna Gallano sits in a classroom full of children in the new spontaneous sites in Kutupalong, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Most of the children here arrived in Bangladesh less than two weeks earlier, having escaped horrible conditions and human rights violations in Myanmar.

Lifelong Learning Is The Key To Career Shifts

“The shelf life of any skill is getting shorter, so workers need to adopt lifelong learning as a habit, not as an occasional event,” said Rich Feller, counseling and career development professor at Colorado State University.

For many, the new year often brings into focus possibilities for a new career. Whether you’re changing paths or expanding your skill set, several trends can help guide you in the right direction.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, personal health care workers, systems engineers, nurses, and operational managers are among the jobs with the most growth possibilities.

Perhaps the best way to approach any career change is to acknowledge that demand shifts rapidly and to plan accordingly.

Lifelong Learning Is The Key To Career Shifts

Don’t confuse lifelong learning with vocational training

In his recent guest commentary, Mark Dorman of McGraw-Hill Education celebrated the idea that we are all “lifelong learners.” No one can disagree with that or with his plea for higher education institutions to develop innovative courses for adults throughout their careers.

But his focus solely on lifelong learning as a way to attain a better job and a more competitive economy is too common and wrong.

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He misses an important point: Lifelong learning encompasses far more than retooling a workforce for better jobs. I should know. I am a retired 68-year-old and am looking forward to taking a full load of non-credit courses at Osher@Mizzou Lifelong Learning Institute this upcoming winter semester.

I have taken courses at Osher for the past four years. About 600 other older adults are also regulars here in Columbia. Judging from appearances, I think we range in age from the early 50s to early 90s.

We are a community of learners, taking short courses on everything from James Joyce’s ”Ulysses” to physics, Shakespeare and beading.

Some of us meet regularly to practice our Spanish on each other; others swap information about travel locations or take part in a diversity book club. In one of our academic years, more than 100 courses are offered.

I seriously doubt that anything Osher students have learned will end up contributing significantly to their net worth or enriching the local economy. Although some Osher students still work, most are retired. Yet we are all lifelong learners, and I believe that what we learn is as important to us as a new set of job-related skills are for younger adult learners. Individually, we develop our human, not our economic, potential. And in doing this, we add to mid-Missouri’s social capital.

Columbia has a well-deserved reputation as an education community where ignorance isn’t honored and where prejudice isn’t a cultural value. Whether through formal or informal methods, Columbians rely on organized education as a foundation for community values and individual growth.

Education is about the change that takes place in the minds of learners and its effects on their lives. For older adults who take courses at Osher, lifelong education is a way to keep our minds and spirits growing, despite our aging bodies.

New knowledge and new neural connections can flush out deep channels of mental habits, opening up new ways of thinking and new possibilities. We come to understand the present and the past, while preparing for the future.

During my career years as I sat in a desk on Friday afternoons, waiting for the weekend, I would never have guessed I would have another chance to study Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself.” I could never have imagined that I would be shivering on a cold night, balancing my camera on a tripod, learning to photograph the Milky Way, or learning from an experienced birder about migratory birds at the Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area.

Money is a necessity, and education is usually a sure path to earning more of it. During the stages of life when earning more — or enough — money is a priority, educational institutions can, and should, as Dorman advocates, provide a range of options to adult students.

But don’t confuse that vocational education with lifelong learning. There’s a whole universe out there, and lifelong learning is the only way to explore it.

Jack Wax is the chair of the Osher@Mizzou advisory council.