“Celebrate the power of people continuing to learn throughout their lives”, this is the message from Adult Learning Australia who want to make 2018 the year of lifelong learning. Australian and international research supports that when people take an active approach to learning in their adult years they develop skills, confidence and courage to live independently, find work and shine at new skills. “Lifelong learning” encompasses a wide range of learning opportunities from schooling, other formal education institutions, workplaces and through community participation.

Does this mean we all have to enroll in University, TAFE or a certified training course? The short answer is no, as learning is no longer considered an activity confined to education institutions. Rather, it is recognised as happening in the workplace, in the home and during leisure time. This is known as Informal Learning, which does not result in a qualification or certificate, but can be considered to embrace a whole range of activities that enhance life skills such as:
• Reading;
• Using the computer or the searching the internet (you must be careful here!);
• Watching TV / listening to the radio;
• Visiting libraries or museums;
• Playing sport;
• Attending community forums or information sessions (guest speakers);
• Joining a men’s shed/CWA/ or other community group;
• Volunteering;
• Mentoring within the workplace.

It never ceases to amaze me the stories we hear from blokes involved in WA Men’s Sheds who have either reconnected with or learnt a new skill. This in turn can create a sense of pride, achievement and that all important sense of meaning and purpose that we all, especially blokes, seek in life’s journey.

At Regional Men’s Health we talk about our social/spiritual wellbeing which is one important aspect to our overall health and wellbeing and it is this aspect of our health that is unique to the individual and can be what each of us wants it to be. It is where we get our identity, individuality, sense of self, meaning, purpose, passions and interests. Sometimes though these things do not just simply appear or develop by themselves without effort, some of us will have to spend time to grow and nurture our passions and interests.

Learning experiences may not always come our way. We may need to actively seek them out or expose ourselves to the right environment to provide this opportunity, and this could mean trying more than once. Like the old saying “if you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got”. Getting out of our comfort zone, trying something new, revisiting the things that used to get us excited can help enhance our sense of fulfillment and happiness.

Terry and the Team

The Regional Men’s Health Initiative
delivered by Wheatbelt Men’s Health (Inc.)
PO Box 768, Northam WA 6401
Phone: 08 9690 2277
Email: menshealth@4blokes.com.au