If you can read, you can learn to do anything

If you can read, you can learn to do anything

So what are you reading?

My mother used to tell me if you can read, you can learn to do anything. I think that’s mostly true. Some things are easier to learn by watching someone else do it or by having them talk you through it, but even then, reading up on something ahead of time can give you a head start.

As you may have guessed, my mother is an avid reader and I caught the habit from her.

For me, big life events sent me to the bookshelf. After my husband proposed, I headed for a book on how to plan a wedding. When we decided we wanted to start a family, I bought a book on the nine months of pregnancy.

Once we decided to build a timber frame house and self-contract it, I found books on construction planning and budgeting.

A few years later, we decided to start raising chickens. Ducks, sheep and cows followed. More books. Our shelves have information on nutrition, care, housing, fencing, grazing, plant identification and more.

When my son brought home a knitting book from the library and declared he wanted me to teach him to knit, I had to read the book first. Later, when he wanted to learn about black smithing, I gave him books on the subject for Christmas.

We often encourage our kids to read and to learn as they get started in the new school year. But what do they see us reading? What do they see us learning? How are reading and learning woven into our life and theirs?

How do books influence your actions? Are you motivated by what you read?

One of the best ways for me to get my energy up for a run is to read things about running. I particularly like memoirs by runners but can’t find as many as I would like, so I consume a wide variety. I study nutrition, training plans, whatever is available, even ultra-running. I don’t actually see myself ever getting to the ultra level, but you never know, and I find it motivating.

If I’m feeling stuck about writing something, I read about writing. Again, motivating.

Now, lest you think I spend all my time in a chair with my eyes glued to a page, I don’t. Although I love the act of reading words on a page, other things in life have to happen. So much of my “reading” these days is more listening. Fortunately, many books out there have audio versions.

Consequently, I listen a lot while I work. During farm chores, I’m likely listening to an audiobook or podcast on something I’m interested in doing. While cooking or doing laundry, my mind is filled with information for current or future projects. When my hands are filled with routine tasks, my mind can be churning away on other things.

When I need to relax, I’m likely to tap into a cozy mystery, an adventure novel or something science fiction.

I have carried books and magazines around for years. Before my first e-reader, I actually had a tote bag of reading material I carried with me just in case I had time to read somewhere. Now I have several books in progress most of the time on my phone.

I’m a firm believer learning should be a life-long endeavor. Just because school years end and degrees are completed, learning should continue.

So what are you reading?

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