Lifelong Learning

Welcome to my blog site at http://www.citybaseblog.net. It is still a work in progress. I will be tweaking the site for some time since I’m still learning about features. However, I am settled on the general design and colors for the time being. The photo carousel is something I’m just playing with in an effort to add something that might give some visuals to make us think. Maybe even amuse us.

Introduction

I have a great interest in lifelong learning. There are several reasons for my fascination. I was born in August exactly two years after the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima from the Enola Gay. That early August birth meant an unfortunate thing happened to me regarding education. I started to school three weeks after I turned six-years-old with no kindergarten back then. For my entire life (well at least into my 20s or 30s), I have sensed I was always a year behind. Being a lazy student didn’t help. I got out of high school ill-equipped for college. And I proved it that first semester.

Actually, I did not start studying seriously until I got out of college. My accounting degree afforded me some wonderful technical skills for which I will forever be grateful, although the course work was hard for me. My passion was actually cost accounting and budgeting that caught my imagination. However, college had things reversed for me. The first two years of liberal arts should have been at the end for me. I managed to get out of college without being able to write a decent memo. And I proved it my first year or two in the workplace.

Then I got in the groove of things, forcing myself to write something semi-intelligent every day. It was also the first few years out of college before I really started acquiring an interest in history, economics and literature. Regarding writing and finding a voice, that came exactly when the microcomputer and word processing arrived on the scene. As it turns out, I was horrible writing on a yellow pad. If someone had asked me to name the most valuable course in college, I would have answered that it was actually in high school: Typing 101, way before Keyboarding amped up the skill. Then thinking was the surprise benefit of writing.

I’m still a year behind or at least that is the way my psyche works. And I’m in a hurry to learn. I love numbers, I love pictures, and I love words. Fortunately the number of opportunities to continue an education are endless. I want to tell you about a recent tool I discovered.

Lynda.com

I must confess that classroom training is not my best learning environment. While not bad, there are too many distractions, usually the students in the classroom either ahead or behind me. My attention span has never been excellent and may be getting worse. But that’s my fault, not so much the classroom. I do need the visuals, and I do need the voice for emphasis. But I also need the pause. I digest information at differing paces.

I have found the perfect tool for me is on Lynda.com. Even though I’m prepared to pitch hard, I am not compensated in any way. Here is what I found. There are over 3,000 videos on a huge library of topics found at this site. Unlike the well-meaning homemade and untested YouTube videos of poor audio and video quality I have tried, these are high definition videos. They are from a few minutes to several hours in length. However, the videos are broken down into segments of about 5 minutes each on the average.

For me, the price of education and skill-building training is reasonable if I can have it handy any time I want to have a spoonful or a full meal of it. That means it must be on my iPhone or iPad. Due to my eyesight (cataract surgery coming up in two weeks!), I prefer the ability to set the lighting and font size to my liking. Therefore, I elected to take the more expensive (but still cheap) option of being able to download many hours of videos on my iPad, so I could get an orientation into blog site and Photoshop tools while on our cruise last week.

I logged about 20 hours in my technical education last week. Twenty delightful hours. With my headphones on to minimize distractions and while my wife was reading, I immersed myself in several high quality videos from Lynda.com. One course was over five hours long. The time flew by, and my attention span was at the highest ever. Irrespective of the subject matter, these videos are lessons on how to teach, present technical information and how to stay at the right level of details. There are skillfully placed reviews and natural pause points to digest before continuing on. And, of course, it was easy to rewind and replay any segment I wanted.

Keeping The Mind Sharp

I have a friend from junior high days, Steve, who lives in Houston. We text and email back and forth on a regular basis. Often several times each day. We discuss a wide range of topics. Steve is much more of a historian than I am. My technical skill set is perhaps stronger, but we seem to complement each other and can carry on a conversation for long periods of time. All full of humor, too.

Since we are both in our late sixties, we revisit the topic of keeping our minds active on a regular basis. It is clear that staying interested in a variety of topics is critical. But the requirement to push ourselves to learn and to think has never been more important. We live in such a bizarre world that making sense of it gets more complex each day. So, reaching the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is partly to expand ourselves, but so is the appreciation and experience of each level of that hierarchy. Embedded in the experience is the reality that the mind is very likely to wear out before the body does. And that is where, I think, lifelong learning comes into play.

It’s about stretching, pushing, getting out a comfort zone (and that includes my beloved recliner and big screen TV) and taking on a big challenge to grow our minds.

Conclusion & My Pitch

I think for some people that could mean considering unlocking the mysteries of local government and deciding to consider getting involved. Wait! That’s too easy. Let me say it this way. It would mean learning about governance and equipping yourself to be the best, smartest, wisest, fairest and most highly motivated public servant walking the earth. It goes way beyond being a political animal. That is cheap public service. It’s not about plotting to make yourself look good or an opponent to look bad.

It is about marrying the ability to visualize a future with the technical knowledge and skills to oversee policy that make the best future happen. It’s not about getting elected and then learning how local government works. It’s just the opposite.

We need some lifelong learners who will see the value of having a professional staff working with a council that has the skill set to be professional in demeanor and in contribution.  And there is no reason why the citizen base itself can’t be helped along with lifelong learning of local government since it is all about serving them. That’s a big part of my motivation to blog and start a conversation with you. LFM

 

 

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