Proverbs 1 and the Pursuit of Knowledge

On the card table that is serving as my desk while we are between houses, I have a stack of books that I am reading, along with my journal, my bible and bible study binder. In the corner is a small bookshelf with books that are in queue to be read in the near future. Amazon and Abe books are kept busy with my constant orders. Sometimes I feel myself getting stressed because there is so much I want to read and study and just not enough hours in the day!

Today is the start of the book of Proverbs for Good Morning Girls. I’m really excited – I love reading Proverbs and have since I was young. In my SOAP for this morning, I focused on verses 5-7.

The wise person seeks wisdom and knowledge, and seeks out learned counselors. It’s the wise person who knows that there is always more to learn and seek after, and searches out knowledge. A wise person also seeks wise counsel, and is receptive to their teaching. The fool is the one who is content with what they know and does not seek out knowledge, and is not willing to be taught.

This morning I prayed for a seeking heart, with a desire to continue seeking out new learning opportunities and a heart open to mentorship by wise counselors.

This is one of the reasons I am drawn to Leadership Education – the idea of being a mentor, as well as being mentored. While I think I am capable of mentoring, and have a lot of knowledge to offer, I am also in need of mentorship. I think that is what makes great leaders, willingness to mentor and a willingness and desire to be mentored. When we understand that there is more to learn and others have things to teach us, we are on a path to greater wisdom.

Mentors aren’t always flesh and blood people; often they are characters in books that teach us about human nature or character traits or life situations we are experiencing. This is why I am seeking out good books on a variety of subjects. In this current season I am reading a lot about mothers and motherhood – the characters in books like Mother and Mother Carey’s Chickens are mentoring me in how to be a better mother to my own children.

Every morning I smile to myself as I watch my eight-year-old daughter grab her stack of books from under her pillow and next to the bed, and head downstairs for breakfast. This girl gets it. She has a passion for learning and reading and she counts books as her closest companions. She also loves the L-rd and has a passion for studying scripture. She will be pursuing wisdom for a long time!

Writing in Books

I am currently reading Turn the Page: Read Right to Lead Right. This is a quick read, and contains some excellent suggestions on getting more out of your reading experience.

One of the thing leadership education promotes is writing in your books. This helps to move you from passive reading to active reading, because by taking notes, commenting in the margins, even making simple notes like “Wow!” or “!” you are interacting with the book. There are wonderful suggestions for what you could be writing in the books you read:

  • significant passages underlined or highlighted
  • references to other relevant books
  • arguments against the author’s point
  • paraphrases
  • an outline of the book (in the back of the book)
  • new vocabulary

I admit struggling with the idea of writing in my books. Throughout college and graduate school, I would highlight but was very specific in the color and type of highlighters that I would use, and then I was only marking up textbooks. Taking this particular suggestion to heart is pushing me out of my comfort zone a little but I do see the value in marking up books as you read them. For valued books in your personal library that will be revisited time and again, you will be able to see the impact the author had on you during previous reads.

For some self encouragement in enacting this, I set up a pencil box with RSVP pens in a multitude of colors, sharpened pencils, a full set of highlighters, and various sizes of post-it notes. Now when I sit down for my personal reading time, I pull out my books and my pencil box, prepared to actively read and annotate.

For books that aren’t mine (borrowed from friends or library) I take notes on post-its. I can then either transcribe my notes into Evernote or snap pictures of the post-it notes directly into Evernote.

For reading ebooks, annotations can be made in a separate journal (I have composition notebooks for reading journals) but the Kindle app does allow for notes and highlights to be added to the book. This is really simple. In the text, you simply tap and hold down your finger on the part of the text you wish to highlight or annotate. A small menu box appears with various highlighter colors to select. You can drag the corner of the highlighter box on the text to include however much text you wish to highlight. You also have the option to copy the text which can be pasted elsewhere. You can also directly record notes, which then can be accessed either by directly tapping on the icon that remains in the text or by pulling up “My Notebook” at the top of the screen (this page includes notes and bookmarks). I also discovered something new today – you can log into your Amazon kindle site. From here you can see all of your notes and highlights in your Kindle books. It is easy enough to use Evernote Web Clipper to clip a snapshot of the notes and highlights page. Disclaimer: As far as I can tell, PDFs you are reading in your Kindle app will not show up on the Kindle amazon site, so any notes you record in those documents will not show up.

I can already notice a difference in the depth of my reading now that I am making an effort to annotate what I am reading. This is definitely one technique I recommend to enhance your reading!