nurse and doctor sitting and reading documents

One Powerful Source of Education that Goes Beyond Textbooks

“Four hundred fifty-eight.”

The nurse’s eyes widened as she read the numbers on the glucometer. My blood sugar was four times too high. 

The doctor launched out of his chair, white coat flying. “It’s Type 1 Diabetes! It has to be! I’ll get some insulin.” He ran out of the room, banging the wooden door.

I swung my dangling legs, crinkling the paper on the doctor’s office bed. My head throbbed from high glucose and spun with jumbled thoughts. 

Diabetes. So I wasn’t crazy about my symptoms! I wasn’t just being a wimp! Can I never eat dessert again? There are treatments for this…right? Does this mean I can’t do the things I’ve dreamed of doing?

Then I straightened. I’m like Papaw.

My mom’s dad also had diabetes. He raised six children, traveled the world, pastored a church, and organized a missions conference anyway.

I didn’t know what managing this disease would look like. But if Papaw’s life could be active and fulfilled, then so could mine. 

His example stuck with me through the months of adjusting to my new routine. It bolstered my courage for my own around-the-world travels a year later. It ignited my purpose when I started my business. 

But here’s the thing: Papaw went to heaven when I was just eighteen months old. I wouldn’t have known anything about him if my family hadn’t passed down his stories. 

I’m so grateful my parents chose to prioritize and sacrifice for my education by homeschooling me. But much of what I learned didn’t come from my textbooks. They taught me how to read, work math problems, conduct science experiments, and study history. 

But to learn how to live, we need to learn from other lives. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon uses his own life as an example. In Psalms, God repeatedly calls his people to remember the stories of their fathers. 

Textbooks alone can’t teach us courage, gratitude, acceptance, or thoughtfulness. But you already have incredible resources that can: your story, and the stories of your family members. 

I encourage you today to ask your parent, grandparent, or elderly friend just one question that you’ve never asked before about his or her life. If possible, bring your kids to listen, too. 

You might find these conversations teaching your kids lessons they’ll remember long after they finish school. 

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