We’ve all heard the saying “knowledge is power”. It was coined by Sir Francis Bacon in the 1500’s and yet still has great meaning today.
As someone with chronic kidney disease, I have found that knowledge has aided my ability to cope with my illness. If you saw me leaving the local public library, you might see just a pair of legs sticking out beneath a pile of books! I love to read, and that’s how I learn more about many different topics, including ways to live a more active life with kidney disease.
What is your style of learning? What activities help you learn? What are the ways that you learn best, and under what type of circumstances? Do you like to learn with one-on-one training, by reading, or by listening to someone teach either in a classroom or on a tape? Do you like to be able to discuss what you’re learning with others? I like to read, but I also learn best when doing a hands-on activity.
There is a Chinese proverb that says: “Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I may remember. But involve me and I’ll understand.”
Take a moment to think about something you want to learn in the next month. Now, think about how you can facilitate a learning environment for yourself. What steps do you need to take? The Internet, books, videos, television, cassette tapes, classes, and other people can all be resources for knowledge.
Let’s say for example that you want to learn how to make healthy foods that fit your renal diet. You could learn this skill many ways, depending on your learning style. Below are some options. Remember, these can apply to anything you want to learn:
- Have someone show you. Find someone who eats healthy and set up a time when they can show you how to cook specific dishes.
- Listen to an expert. Ask your dietician for suggestions to add flavor to your diet, and which foods you can include.
- Read. Go to the library and check out some cookbooks. Or go to the Recipe Box on KidneyTimes.com for a large selection of renal-friendly recipes. Pick a few new recipes to make and invite others to share your creations.
- Explore creative options. Visit your local health food store and browse to find new foods to try or ask employees for their expertise.
- Attend a class and learn with others. Find an adult education class focusing on eating nutritiously. These are usually offered at a community college, health food store, library, cooperative extension, hospital, or recreation center.
- As you can see, there are many styles of gaining more knowledge. Learning helps us to keep active, focused, and involved in life.
- Knowledge does give us power to feel better about ourselves and to pursue our interests. It also can give us the ability to affect someone else’s life in a positive way.
Here is the challenge. Share your new knowledge with at least one other person. Ask them how they learn best, and find a way to communicate your new knowledge with them using that medium.
As each of us continues to take opportunities to learn, we can help one another to achieve a greater quality of life.
Go, learn, and share!
About the Author
Shari Gilford, from Oregon, has had kidney disease since 1977. She has had two transplants which kept her off dialysis a total of 19 years. She received her third kidney transplant in March, 2006. In New York State she pioneered a newsletter for her local clinic and was also trained as a dialysis technician. She regularly works out at the gym and loves to hike in the woods with her husband.
(This article originally Appeared in the 2005 Spring Issue of RSN’s Live & Give Newsletter.)
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