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    by Susan McGrath

Ancora Imparo
Date Posted: June 12, 2008

Ancora Imparo - Italian for "I am still learning", this phrase was reputed to have been spoken by Michelangelo at the age of 87.

Although I can't afford to be a perpetual student of the enrolled variety, I certainly hope I will remain a student of life and realize there is always something more I can learn or improve upon. My sons have been taking swimming lessons this week and my 11-year-old keeps telling me, "I don't need to practice that stroke. I know how to do it." I can't seem to convince him that he might learn to do it even better with some instruction.

I know I am guilty of the same philosophy, though. I want to learn what I want to learn. Music and a select group of literature being at the top of the list, scripture working its way up, new recipes coming in toward the bottom and algebra having been cut from the list the second I passed my one required course in college.

Sometimes I am amazed at what my brain chooses to remember or reflect upon. I have loads of useless trivia stored in my head, just waiting for that encounter with the Cash Cab. I also want to explore an ever-expanding range of subjects which I often find relate back to my study of scripture.

In fact, I am convinced that one of my ancestors was a librarian at the ancient library of Alexandria. Founded about 300 B. C. during the reign of Ptolemy II of Egypt, it was the most famous repository of literature and knowledge in the ancient world. This love of knowledge was obviously passed down to me, because my favorite summer pastime as a kid was to ride my bike to the library and load up on books. I did this at least once a week. (I know - N-E-R-D is tattooed on my forehead!) But I still love reading with a passion. I could happily spend hours wandering Barnes & Noble if I could every go alone!

I was watching a favorite movie the other day, You've Got Mail, and a line from Kathleen Kelley (Meg Ryan) really caught my attention. She was talking to a loyal customer in her children's bookstore about her mother, from whom she had inherited the store. She said when her mother helped a child select something to read she wasn't just selling a book, "she was helping them become whoever they were going to turn out to be." That really resonated with me as I thought about my favorite genres as a child and how they have influenced by compulsion to write and my continued exploration of literature today.

My exposure to scripture reading and memorization as a child also instilled a love of God's word in me that has matured along with my spirituality. As a kid it was fun to learn the verses to earn points for my team at camp or pins for my hat at Wednesday night bible study. Today it is comforting to know where to find the scripture I need to encourage a friend or be convicted rather than offended by a hard-hitting sermon.

Although we live in the "information age", I believe many people have given up on learning and are just content to absorb and regurgitate the information fed to them. They never process or sort it to discover what constitutes knowledge or truth. Scripture is full of wisdom about knowledge. Proverbs 1:7 says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline," and 15:14 says "the discerning heart seeks knowledge."

Paul cautions Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:20, "Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith."

As I continue to learn and as I encourage and guide my children's learning I pray that my knowledge will result in Godly wisdom. After all, Ancora Imparo.

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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