(That tagline idea came from Austin Kleon. In his book Steal Like An Artist he writes, “The great thing about dead or remote masters is that they can’t refuse you as an apprentice. You can learn whatever you want from them. They left their lesson plans in their work.”)
When my now eight-year-old was born, I remember sitting on my couch at home, nursing him and realizing that I could spend all that nursing time on my phone or I could read those Jane Austen books that sat on the piano. That might have been the first time I started a reading list as an adult. During the day I usually tucked a four-year-old and a two-year-old alongside me and read to them, but when my husband was home or it was evening, I picked up my book.
They were big dusty-red hardbacks1 and unwieldy to hold, but I stuck with it. My memories of having tiny children reveal this a complicated tangle of emotions,2 but I do know that much of the work felt brainless. My brain likes a workout now and it did then too even though I was unaware of that. The reading was a counterweight to the work I was cultivating in the day.
Those books turned into the #personalgradschool hashtag that I used for years. I did art projects. I completed writing challenges. I wrote reflections and reviews of the books I was reading. I listened to theology podcasts. I doubt I would be in seminary now if it weren’t for the work I did for #personalgradschool. That work stemmed from that desire to exercise my mind and to be a life-long learner. Curiosity about the world drove me to learn.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Becoming by Lisa Hensley to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.