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Learning Something New

September is here and that means that the new school year has begun. For little ones starting PreK all the way up to young adults beginning their college careers, this can be very scary and very exciting all at the same time. When you mix these feelings together, you get nervous tummies, all kinds of aches and pains and tears. If school began in mid-August, hopefully you or your loved one is over these feelings and has settled in and is learning.

Elementary aged students get lots of encouragement from their teachers and parents. But even with all the encouragement, students of all ages often find that learning can be difficult or hard. A friend told me about how her fifth-grade nephew told her and her high school sophomore daughter how hard the fifth grade was going to be (he had been at school for five days). Her high school sophomore daughter rolled her eyes and told him that she would be glad to be in the fifth grade, the courses she had to take were “really hard” and that he should be happy he was only in the fifth grade! How you think about learning something new can depend on your point of view: do you look forward to the end results of the new skill learned or do you think about times when you tried and failed to achieve the goal of learning a new skill. It is sort of the "half full or half empty glass" point of view.

Adults are often confronted with a "fifth-grader's view of having lots of hard, new things to learn" when we are presented with something new. Think about when you got your latest cell phone. The latest model of a cell phone can do so much more than the same model that is only three or four years old. Do you take time to figure out your new phone by reading about it on the internet, asking friends who might be more tech savvy than you or do you put the phone back in the box and send it back. As for me, I will keep the new phone and "play around" with it until I can use it. The Session of the church has purchased a software program that will make church record keeping (attendance, giving, paying bills and bank reconciliation) much easier and more accurate. I had feelings like a kid starting preschool, excited and fearful, at the same time. With the encouragement and positive feedback from the person who was hired to teach me how to use the program, I am feeling very positive about the end results of this new program.

My words of encouragement to both the fifth grader and the high school sophomore are not to try to take on the entire year in one day or even one week but to just take it one class, one assignment at a time, away from all distractions. If you are having trouble, read the assignment again or seek help from a knowledgeable person. This probably sounds familiar. When you are presented with a new situation in life, we know that the way to learn how to persevere is to read the Bible and go to God in prayer. Our instructions are given in Luke 11 verses 9-10 “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened."

--Tina

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