A Lifelong Teacher Gains the Wisdom of Youth
by Herbert Kohl
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As Herbert Kohl approached seventy, he realized the image he had of himself (energetic man in midlife) was not in keeping with how he was viewed by others (wise grandfather figure). To counter the realization that he was growing old, Kohl, a staunch believer in lifelong learning, set out to try something new. While on a walk, he happened upon a painting studio and on a lark signed up for a beginning class. When Kohl arrived for his first lesson, he was surprised to see the students were Chinese children between the ages of four and seven.
Now, after three years of study, Kohl tells us what he learned from them. He shares the joys of trying to stay as fresh and unafraid as his young classmates and the wisdom he unexpectedly discovers in the formal tenets of Chinese landscape painting. As he advances into classes with older students, he reflects on how this experience allows him to accept and find comfort in aging. For anyone who feels stuck in the wearying repetition of everyday life, Kohl's adventures will clearly illustrate that you can never be too old to grow from new experiences.
- Bloomsbury Publishing, January 2011
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