We are all works in progress, but sometimes we're more willing to learn than at other times. Proverbs 12:1 (ESV) says, "Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid." Having a teachable spirit takes some cultivation, and here are some aspects of that spirit we can all be developing:
A disciple is someone who is willing to be taught and is eager to learn more. A teachable heart starts with the acknowledgement that we do not know everything. If we can keep an open mind, we can learn a lot from the people that God has placed in our lives. Proverbs 13:18 tells us, "Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored." Commit to being a lifelong learner.
Invest in one another by listening to another's stories. Take the time to listen patiently. We miss a lot of the blessings by moving too fast rather than taking the time to listen. Take genuine interest in hearing someone’s experience. Choose a posture of attentive listening to understand how others are experiencing things so you can care for those around you.
Learn to ask good questions. Wonder about things, especially how other people feel. Name the feeling you hear. Spend time inquiring about how someone else perceives a situation. Ask how they are feeling and what thoughts they might have to contribute. We learn more when we let all of the voices share their perceptions.
Be willing to accept correction. We will not get everything right and sometimes we will need to be reminded of what is truly important. When someone offers correction, consider it a gift. You will probably want to defend your choices, but maybe you're missing something. Listening to correction doesn't mean you have to admit failure immediately, so let go of defensiveness. Wonder what it is that they are seeing. We correct those who we care about. We correct because we care enough to see those we love make wise choices. We often learn much more from our mistakes than from our successes, but the key is how we respond to those failures.
Recognize everyone has something to teach us. God has gifted us with unique gifts and talents and we have all walked through different experiences. We can learn from the lives of others. God’s kingdom is diverse and when we engage with those outside of our own culture and experiences our world becomes much richer.
Delight daily in discovery. Incorporate learning into your daily life by seeking better understanding and celebrating your discoveries. Have fun each day learning new things. God's world is filled with unique blessings, if you tune your eyes and ears to experience them. Choose to wonder and gain a better understanding.
Don’t keep your learning a secret. Demonstrate to your kids how you are learning new things each day. Share regularly how you are growing in God’s word. We never get to a place where you act as though you have arrived and know everything. We can grow and learn together if we are willing to share how God is stretching us.
God has much to teach us in this life, so leave your un-teachable attitudes behind. God will teach us through his word, through creation, through life experiences, and through the people that we meet each day. Developing a teachable spirit will help us to delight in life-long learning.