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23 March 2013


How true this is! Real learning requires effort.

When I lived with my grandmother during a period of unemployment we had following college, I tried to read the Federalist Papers. I approached it in much the same way that I approached every book: I started on page one and looked at the words. I knew the words (for the most part), but the way they are arranged in that book is somewhat different from how they are used in the science fiction novels that were my main literary diet up to that point. My first attempt at reading the Federalist Papers failed spectacularly, and at the time I had no idea why. I put it back on the shelf, puzzled over it a bit, and eventually moved on to other things.

Several years later, I started participating in the LDS Mothers' Education Course. I described my experience with the Federalist Papers to them, and we talked about how difficult that language is - and also some suggestions for what to do to learn to handle that kind of reading. Between that group and the things I learned when I researched homeschooling, I really learned to study for the first time.

I also heard about the essay, The Proper Role of Government. Over the next several years I read some books. I read the Constitution and the Declaration. I really considered them for the first time, ever. I joined a Facebook group that studies compares government action to the original principles and intent of the Founders. (We spend a lot of time frustrated by government.) I read a couple of bills, and slogged through parts of a couple of Supreme Court decisions. I read part of the Federalist Papers a year or two ago, but got distracted before I got very far, so I'm currently on my third attempt.

Learning, real learning, takes effort. You can skim over some information in an afternoon, but to really know a thing, to understand it, that takes effort.

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