This week’s session of the Barbee Library Max and Sarah Williams Life Long Learners series “How Winston Churchill Changed the World” explored Churchill’s pivotal decision to fight Germany rather than to surrender to those around him urging appeasement. This was the 9th session in a 17-part series, confirming that there is much to be learned about one of the most remarkable leaders in western history.
Churchill has been described as determined, tenacious, curious, scholarly, well-read, well-spoken, patriotic, and visionary. Participants in the course and our course leaders embody many of these same virtues. Nonetheless, learning does not necessarily come naturally to many of us. Even Churchill noted, “Personally, I’m always ready to learn, although I do not like being taught.”
In a world where information reduced to sound bites, what motivates course participants to delve into learning with such enthusiasm? It may be that history holds a special fascination. It may be regret that their education left so much untaught and unlearned. It may simply be a desire for growth and personal development. As Churchill said, “Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.”
Whatever the motivation, one thing is clear. Life Long Learning is less about accumulating facts and more about creating and honing a perspective through which to view the events of the past and the present. One need not become a walking encyclopedia. As depicted in the marvelous 2017 movie, Darkest Hour, it was ultimately the wisdom of the common people on the subway that cemented Churchill’s resolve to fight. The rest, as they say, is history.
This and future Barbee Life Long Learner programs are open to everyone and currently streaming on Zoom due to the pandemic. If you’d like to attend a session or a series, call 910-278-4283 to register. No need to make a life long commitment… just give it a try!