Jamie checked out "The Book That Changed My Life: 71 Remarkable Writers Celebrate the Books That Matter Most to Them" from the library a couple weeks ago. He finished it pretty quickly and passed it off to me. I was flipping through it the other night, reading about some of the books I recognized, when I happened upon one by Da Chen writing about "The Count of Monte Cristo." In it he talks about growing up in China and not being allowed to read anything that wasn't written by Mao. When a book happened into the village it was torn apart and shared around so everyone could hand copy it. I won't go more into that, but he talks about how with no books around, storytellers were revered. At the end of the day everyone would gather round the village storyteller and listen to his stories, doing whatever they could to keep him going. Da Chen became the storyteller for his generation, all climbing a big tree together where he would share stories he had heard from the village storyteller. He said that when he ran out of stories, people stopped coming to listen to him.
I didn't think much about that until today while I was cleaning out a closet and listening to a recent talk by Robert D. Hales on "The Journey of Lifelong Learning" (sorry, can't link straight to it but you can search for it here.) I don't know exactly what it was that bridged lifelong learning to Da Chen the storyteller, but I had an 'ah ha' moment. Of course learning makes anyone a better person, but for a person to be able to inspire those around them and continue to be inspiring, it is necessary to continue to become better and to share what you learn.
This is a huge concept in the homeschool philosophy we try to follow known as Thomas Jefferson Education or Leadership Education (more info about that here). I'll post about a fun way that lifelong learning works into what we do soon.