Don't Waste Your Summer: Continue Learning

Student studying outside with trees

Back when we were kids, the summer months felt so long and the days were full of endless play, so when that last school bell rang, we burst from the doors knowing we would not have to hear the word "homework" again for three months.

Now that you're adulting, summertime means work - and probably more of it - to save for college expenses while adding new job experiences to your ever-growing resume, which are certainly good and necessary things.

For some, after just a few short weeks of break, you are already back in class trying to knock out a few more credit hours on the fast track to graduation. That means more reading ... more papers ... more exams. For others, maybe the arrival of summer meant getting to sell back your used texts with the intention of not cracking open another book until the start of fall classes.

The parenthesis of summer in this unique season of life may also be a prime opportunity to focus on learning something new without pressure. Use these summer months to pick up a new hobby or skill, learn a new craft, or enlarge your intellectual horizons - without academic scrutiny or the pressure of a final grade. For sure, take time away from class or work to enjoy the salty breeze on a beach or take a cross-country road trip — but one certain way to waste these summer months is to treat it as a hiatus from learning.

So along with that summer job, summer class, and summer trip, travel to some place new in your mind and enlarge your world from the comfort of your couch or the coffeehouse. Whether it's listening to podcasts, watching documentaries, or reading books, keep your mind well-toned during these summer months in the discipline and habit of learning.

There is certainly no coasting through the Christian life nor do we ever get a break from needing spiritual formation, so especially add to your summer learning those resources that will keep you maturing in the faith and in love toward God and your neighbor.

With this in mind, we recently asked several of our beloved DBU faculty and staff members - from disciplines as diverse as biblical studies to athletics - how they are continuing to develop as life-long learners throughout the summer, what books are currently on their reading lists, or just books they would recommend as resources for continued intellectual - and especially - spiritual growth. Here's what they shared with us.

Connor Smith, Director of Athletics

  • Excellence Wins by Horst Schulze, who built the customer-oriented hotel chains in the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company and is a strong Christian who models servant leadership in the marketplace.
  • Trillion Dollar Coach by Bill Campbell, who helped to build Google, Apple, and Intuit and uses the same leadership principles in Silicon Valley as he did as a successful coach.
  • All In by Dr. Mark Batterson, which focuses on spiritual development and whole-hearted commitment to God.

Dr. Brent Thomason, Director of the Master of Arts in Global Leadership 

  • Devoted: Great Men and Their Godly Moms by Tim Challies, which describes the importance of mothers as "disciple-makers" in the home.
  • The Gospel According to John by D.A. Carson, an authoritative commentary on the context and message of John.
  • The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah by Alfred Edersheim, a survey of the geography, customs, and culture of first-century Judaism.

Dr. Mary Nelson, Director of the Ph.D. in Leadership Studies

  • The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson, a riveting account of Winston Churchill and his circle during the darkest days of World War 2.
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, an illumination of the painful history of the prevalence of racism in our judicial system.
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, a gripping suspense novel set in a unique dystopia that brings about both challenges and alarms.

Kristi Coleman, Director of Prayer Ministry

  • Upside Down Leadership by Taylor Field, a fresh perspective on leadership for everyday people who may not see themselves as successful or influential.
  • Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes by Kenneth Bailey, how our Western worldview can hinder us from fully understanding stories in the Bible without knowing the context of ancient Middle Eastern culture.

Dr. Tempress Asagba, Dean of Students

  • The Soul of Shame by Curt Thompson, about the effects of shame on relationships with others.
  • Lead From the Outside by Stacey Abrams, a story of the author's accomplishments as a Black woman navigating a challenging political arena and her leadership exemplified through her gubernational campaign in Georgia.

Dr. Justin Gandy, Master of Arts and Master of Science in Management Interim Program Director and Professor of Management 

  • The Strength You Need: The Twelve Great Strength Passages of the Bible by Robert Morgan, which explores Scripture on the subject of finding our promised strength in the Lord.
  • How Humans Learn: The Science and Stories behind Effective College Teaching by Joshua Eyler, which provides strategies for improving teaching effectiveness.
  • Creative Followership by Jimmy Collins and Michael Cooley, a personal account of Jimmy's 30-year role as President of Chick-Fil-A, Inc., and his loyalty to Truett Cathy.
Written by Dr. Michael Whiting

Dr. Michael Whiting is the Director of Written Content in University Communications at Dallas Baptist University.

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