Please Don’t Stop Learning.

Posted October 10, 2013 by Ellen Hunter Gans in Life After Five

Here’s a pet peeve of mine: When parents push their kids into 8,710 lessons, shuttling them around in a giant whirling dance of soccer and violin and tap and ceramics and intermediate Mandarin — but those very parents have abandoned any and all hobbies and passions of their own.

What kind of message does that send? Hey, Junior, please devote tons of time to all these activities, but don’t worry, there’s an end date to all of this because you will totally stop learning and growing and pursuing passions the instant you finish whatever ends up being your final degree.

I know that it’s easy to fall into a trap of work-eat-TV-sleep with maybe some occasional exercise and/or social activity crammed in there, but there has to be more to life than that, right?

Continuing professional development is important too, of course, but I’m talking about the personal stuff.

So maybe you hated piano lessons as a kid. I’m not saying you have to revert back to that. I’m saying that you should find something that you DO want to learn.

Check out community ed for language classes. Not enough time? Try, which is a free site featuring language lessons.

Love singing? Take lessons, or just join a choir. My mom just re-joined a choir after giving it up many years ago, and I’m so proud of her.

How about a self defense class? Or a literary criticism course? Or a pottery class?

If you live in a big metropolitan area, you’ve probably seen advertisements for the wine-and-painting classes. I’ve done one; my painting is hideous but it was a lot of fun.

Please don’t stop learning.

There are so many fun, cool things out there. Your TV will still be there after class, I promise.

About the Author

Ellen Hunter Gans

Ellen Hunter Gans is a freelance writer and communications strategist. She's also a marathon runner, an Ironman triathlete, a wildly untalented cross-country skier, a newly minted Crossfit junkie, a yoga devotee, a wannabe culinary genius, a voracious reader, a grammar snob, a world traveler, an outdoorswoman, an oenophile, a mediocre gardener, and a secret fan of awful television. Her blog is at, and her business website is at