Forum Summary: Have you fallen in love?

Author: Ryan Price | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2021-22

Estimated Reading Time: 3 min.

Dr. Richard Franz began this week’s forum by asking the Living Education students a question: “Have you fallen in love with learning?”

His goal was to convince the students to enter a lifelong love relationship with education and exercise, which, when combined, can help us all to achieve our full potential.

Why should we love learning?

Through learning, we open up experiences and opportunities. The problem is that there is an ocean of information available to us. It is up to us to choose what to learn, and if we choose wisely, we will increase in knowledge that will help us in life. Life is busy and it seems we don’t have time for anything. However, Dr. Franz noted that according to statistics, Americans spend between 12-13 hours engaging in digital entertainment. Such excessive use of digital media shortens our attention spans, which makes it harder to focus on learning anything. The reality is that we have time to learn if we only spend a little less time having our minds saturated by electronic media.

One of the best ways to learn is to read. Yet attaining knowledge is not the only benefit of reading. Six minutes of reading can reduce our stress levels by 68 percent, which is far more than the stress decrease we experience by listening to music or walking. Dr. Franz challenged the students to read twelve books in a year. He explained that, depending on the size of the books, the students could get through them by reading for just fifteen minutes a day.

While the word education doesn’t appear in our English Bible, that Bible still has a lot to say about education. Solomon wrote that true knowledge—true education—comes from the fear of the Eternal. Jesus Christ taught us that true freedom comes from being educated in God’s truth.

Why should we love exercise?

God told Adam and Eve to tend the Garden of Eden. Even in paradise, there was work to be done! God created us to work. But today we measure our quality of life in terms of comfort and leisure. Sitting is our dominant posture. This has led to the numerous health problems of our society.

However, exercise brings with it many benefits. The body is often recharged after systematic, purposeful exercise. Dr. Franz recommends taking moderate walks often, as walking and hiking are excellent forms of exercise.

But how do exercise and education relate? Dr. Franz explained that through exercising, even if we don’t see the physical results we want, we enhance our ability to learn. Exercise stimulates the production of a neurotransmitter called BDNF, which increases the connectivity of our brains, leading to a clearer head. As Dr. Franz put it, “Exercise creates an environment where the brain is both ready and able to learn.” Aerobic exercise is a vital and fundamental tool for those who wish to reach their full potential. It combats cognitive decline and can improve our brain’s capacity. Dr. Franz compared this with the parable of the talents. While we don’t know how much brainpower God has given us, He has given us the knowledge to be able to increase it.

These all seem like a pretty good reward for a little exercise. However, exercise benefits only for a little while. If we stop exercising, the benefits cease. Consistency is key.

Be a life-long learner

Dr. Franz closed the forum with the hope that he has encouraged the LE students to become “life-long learners, as well as exercise enthusiasts” so that they may live up to the potential that God has given them.