Overstuffed

Thanksgiving day dinner is coming, and oh what memories!

We look forward to Mom’s steaming golden brown turkey, a wallop of stuffing and lumpy mashed potatoes on the plate (I like ‘em lumpy!), and hot buttered corn-on-the-cob.

Then comes Aunt Mary’s macaroni and three-cheese casserole. Wow! We won’t forget the cranberry sauce, and Mom’s amazing gravy! After a piece of homemade pie, plus a bite (or two), it’s time for…a nap.

While most of us know the physical sleepy effect of too much food, you may not know that “over-stuffing” is a principle in learning, and even in spiritual growth.

For students facing final exams right after Thanksgiving, the over-stuffing principle is serious. For Christians desiring spiritual growth, it is vital.

 

Overstuffed brain

Can we overstuff our brains? Yes we can! And an overstuffed brain will limit and even shut down a student’s ability to learn.

Our brain creates new connections with new information. If too much information is attempted at once, the brain becomes “overstuffed” and cannot process accurately.

It’s called the saturation point. In chemistry, the saturation point identifies when a solvent can no longer receive and hold an added substance.

Too much chocolate powder in milk, or too much sugar or salt in water, sits at the bottom of the cup, not dissolved.

Did you know the saturation point principle applies not only to chemistry but also to business, economics, electronics and more? It’s also an important learning principle for students.

For the brain, the acronym is TMI, too much information at once. For you college students, synonyms include “info-besity” and “infoxication.”

Physically, TMI to the brain brings on exhaustion, irritability and could cause illness. Mentally, it can also cause unclear, incorrect learning and an inability to make a good decision. That’s lethal on a true/false exam.

I’m trying to help two different kinds of Thanksgiving holiday students to earn an “A.”

The first kind of student is driven to study too much over the Thanksgiving weekend. Cramming to the point of mental exhaustion is seriously counter-productive. Listen to this learning specialist’s recommendations. Go ahead and study, but take frequent breaks. Give the brain a rest, and spend quality time with family. They need you, and your brain needs time to process progressive chunks of information.

The second kind of student is seriously tempted to take a total break over the Thanksgiving holiday. Hoooray, they say. But, to wait and cram in the week of final exam, can bring on TMI symptoms the day of the test. That’s a recipe for disaster.

The best thing to do is schedule chunks of quality study time over the Thanksgiving holiday, take plenty of mental breaks, and be mostly ready the week of exams in early December.

 

How TMI affects spiritual growth

In today’s education, computer, TV, email, smart phones and massive information age, we are flooded and drowning with TMI. It can brainwash us to become too information and intellectually minded, with an underdeveloped spirit. This can deceive us into being informed but not wise, missing the real truth we critically need.

The Apostle Paul said to, “let no one deceive you with empty words… ever learning but not able to come to the knowledge of the truth…(rather) walk circumspectly not as fools but as wise…redeeming the time because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:6, 15-16 NKJV).

Does our culture need wisdom these days?

In the parable of the sower and the seed, the seed represented the truth, and the soil represented the heart and mind. We are transformed by the renewing of our minds.

One type of heart-soil received some truth plus a lot of weed-seeds. The harvest was little.

Another type of heart and mind was weeded and stuffed with a lot of truth-seeds. The harvest was great.  Transformation was more significant.

 

So TMI can adversely affect both a student preparing for a final exam, and the growth of wisdom in our spirit.

This Thanksgiving intentionally invest in developing godly wisdom. It will help us and our families to take special time learning more about thankfulness. Attend at least one good church service. In some way, include a single person or someone alone without family. Have one, or more family devotion times. It will bring benefits beyond our current understanding.

 

Steve Davis, Ed.S. is an education specialist adjunct professor at Trinity International University writing about personal development and education. He can be reached at sdavis@tiu.edu.

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