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Earlier this year I made a conscious decision to do things that would stretch me mentally.  I’ve worked into my book reading rotation books that are scientific in nature.  A recent book focused on how the brain works.  Fortunately it was written for people like me — people who last took a biology class over 20 years ago.  At least I think it was over 20 years ago; it could have been 25!

Another book, yet to be finished, is entitled, “Do Polar Bears Get Lonely?”  It’s a collection of articles from New Scientist magazine.  Readers submit questions and other readers answer them.  The editors then select which ones make it into the magazine and then the book.  It’s a bit quirky, which is good.

One other thing we recently started as a family is putting together jigsaw puzzles.  We finished our first one today and have already bought two more.  It’s a good exercise for improving your ability to focus and recognize patterns (and opportunities).  It also helps build patience.

The older we get, the more important it is that we make a concerted effort to stay mentally alert and sharp.  It’s easy to fall into ruts.  We may read the newspaper and one or two books a year.  We play the games we know best.  We do the things we’ve always done.

Part of the Great Commandment is to love God with all of our minds (Matthew 22:37).  One of the ways we can do that is by continuing to learn about God and the world he has created.  We need to have an exploring spirit, one that seeks to tackle new challenges and learn new things.

When we stop learning, we stop growing.