Popeye, Spinach, and My Intellectual Growth


As a youngster growing up in Louisville, KY I didn’t always agree with my mother and Father on what I needed to help me grow and remain healthy. You probably did not either. Take food for instance; my parents wanted me to eat all kinds of green vegetables, black-eyed peas, and carrots.

As a child, I was a fan of Popeye the Sailorman. But what he was popping open and eating and the spinach my mother tried to feed me were two different things. It had to be! There is no way Popeye would’ve gulped down a can of the Spinach my mom was serving. I don’t know who the manufacturer of Popeye’s spinach was, but I am certain it tasted more like chocolate – or at least like Flintstones vitamins.

The point is as kids, we don’t always know what is good for us. Why, had it been left up to me, I would have had a diet of sugar and candy. But now I know all sugar is not a healthy diet.

The same is true with our spiritual lives, isn’t it? We need a healthy diet. What does that diet consist of? We need a steady diet of the things that will produce wellbeing and growth. In our spiritual growth that is Bible study.

We know fish is a good source of protein. Some people like to eat their fish raw. I am not one of those people. I want my meat cooked, so I do not eat sushi. Besides a complete diet of raw fish is not healthy either.

By the same token, you can study the Bible in the privacy of your own home, but it will not be the same as studying with a small group of people. To get the full impact of God’s word, you need to study with others. God made you this way. There is no better learning than reading/studying God’s Word, The Holy Bible with others.

Not only God’s Word, reading for learning is essential. Learning is essential for intellectual growth. Just as a child needs a healthy diet to grow, so you and I need a healthy diet for physical and intellectual growth. Research shows us a large percentage of men (over 80%) never read a book cover to cover after their last year of schooling. No matter their level of classroom education, reading stops within two years afterward.

While the percentage of women reading is higher than men, much of their reading is not for education or intellect, but for pleasure; novels, poetry, short stories, and magazines. Very little of this leads to intellectual growth.

We all lead in some capacity of life. A leader is a reader and a reader is a learner. I am a slow reader. Almost all of my reading is for education. I continually want to learn more, to strive for intellectual growth. Not trying to be better than anyone else, reading is the spinach of growing brainpower. I now eat spinach since I have learned the true value of it. Likewise, I understand the value of reading for intellectual growth allowing me to be better prepared for discussions and processing various situations that arise throughout each week.

Begin reading subjects you are passionate about. Read how-to books on those subjects. Read biographies of leaders in that industry, sport, or profession. Read to gain useful information, not trivia only. Read to improve, whether it is a sport, a hobby, or your profession. Begin today. Do an internet search for topics relating to your passions. Then pop open that can of intellectual spinach and gulp it down.

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