Aging Well August 16th

The American philosopher and educator, Mortimer Adler once wrote “The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live.” Today because of the changes in how we communicate, and how we access information – particularly through the numerous resources on the Internet – the opportunities to continue growing by directing our own learning are boundless.

This developing movement toward “do-it-yourself” learning has primarily focused on higher education, but I see exciting possibilities for older adult learners who are not interested in degrees or credentials; can’t afford formal classes, but are self-motivated, willing to share what they have learned, and are open to this new approach to learning.

Because this “Do-It-Yourself” concept of learning fits the Center’s mission of providing inexpensive and accessible opportunities to connect with others while exploring the world around them, the Center will be initiating what I am calling “DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Learning Circles”. In these DIY Learning Circles there will not be a formal teacher but a guide who will help direct you to the numerous available resources, facilitate discussions and encourage your learning efforts. The curriculum will be individualized and molded by those in the Learning Circles. This is new territory and may be a little messy with several false starts but I see tremendous potential in this new approach.

The five possible choices for the Center’s first DIY Learning Circles are Mandarin Chinese, Understanding the Federal Budget, Geneology, Social Media, and All things iOS (learning more about the iPhone, iPad and iPod).The three subjects generating the most interest will be offered starting in September, so call or email the Center if you are interested in any of these areas. And for the first Tuesday Lecture on September 7th, I will discuss in more detail the potential and benefit of DIY Learning Circles.

It’s Wasco County Fair time! And once again on free admission Thursday, starting at noon, there will be a free Picnic in the Park for older adults – thanks to the generosity of Pioneer Potlatch. The menu includes fried chicken, potato salad, baked beans, watermelon and drinks. And with the temperature forecast to be in the low to mid 80’s, it looks like a real winner.

This coming Saturday is the third Saturday of the month and you know what that means: a chance to enjoy a delicious breakfast at the Center. Bonnie is cooking up a breakfast casserole to go along with bacon, muffins, fruit and the regular beverages – all for $5.00 and $4.00 for Center members. This month’s sponsor is the Area Agency on Aging providing services to help support older adults in the Mid-Columbia area. Breakfast is served from 8:00 – 9:30, so come on in because as Jack always said “Breakfast tastes better when someone else cooks it!”

After his rousing birthday party on Friday, Truman is primed and ready to entertain the assembled multitude tonight at the Center starting at 7:00. And next Tuesday the 23rd, offering a change of pace from the usual Country Western fare, the Jazz Generations will be playing for your dancing and listening pleasure. Everyone is welcome and as always donations are appreciated. (And for those who were stumped by last week’s secret code, each letter represented the letter that preceded it in the alphabet. For example “txffu ebodjoh nvtjd” spelled “sweet dancing music”.)

The answer to last week’s question is “Which twin has the Toni?” the innovative home permanent product that generated a strong pungent odor that several folks still remember. (And the winner of a free breakfast was Modena Carelton.) This week’s “Remember When” question is from June Brown’s February 1997 copy of “Reminisce” magazine. It includes an article about the television school teacher Miss Francis – the 1950’s equivalent of Mr. Rodgers – who opened her half-hour TV show for preschoolers by ringing a bell. What was the name of this “televised nursery school of the air”? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or write it on the back of a stick horse made of an old broom stick and an argyle sock..

Well it has been another week – taking it one laugh at a time. Until we meet again, always learn from your own mistakes, although it is best to learn from the mistakes of others and often less embarrassing.

“I like to think of my behavior in the sixties as a “learning experience.” Then again, I like to think of anything stupid I’ve done as a “learning experience.” It makes me feel less stupid.” P. J. O’Rourke

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