More than anything else though, I love to write about the lessons I accidentally learn from those same beautiful children, lessons that are obtained through no other way than sitting back and quietly watching. Be forewarned that these rare moments are far and few between. As a general rule, a parent is too busy participating in their children’s lives to enjoy a few minutes as an observer.
But those chances do come, and when they do, I suggest you waste no time taking advantage of them. You would be amazed with the way things suddenly open up to you. I’m not talking about the new things they’ve learned in school, or what Sally Sue told Bobby. I’m talking about life’s hidden lessons and best kept secrets.
When it comes to life, we learn how to survive it by fumbling our way through it. That is, after all, why they’re called life lessons. As we grow older, we “live and learn.” Let me be the first to tell you that this isn’t always the preferred way to learn. Yet, for some reason, this is the way we all insist on learning.
Hang on, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s get back to what I saw while watching my children. So there they are, fresh off the bus and elbow deep in their homework. My youngest is struggling with her math and has asked me to help. Well, I was elbow deep in my own task and told her to set the math aside, and I would help her in a minute.
A little deflated, she begins to do just as I told her. Why is she deflated? Well, she hates putting things aside to do later. Once she starts something, she wants it done and doesn’t want to wait to do it. This is something my son is well aware of, which is exactly why he jumped in to help her out.
So there I stand, washing dishes, while I watch my 11-year-old son use his whole two extra years of life experience to help his nine-year-old sister. This is where it hit me, when what I already knew came blasting at me with new, bright and vivid clarity.
We don’t have to fumble our way through life! No matter how old you are, there is almost always someone older to help guide you through it. That is, of course, if you’re willing to use the help and guidance they are giving you. That’s where the real struggle comes into play.
As a teen, I couldn’t wait for the day to come when I would be an adult and know it all. No one would have to tell me what to do, and then climb all over me when I didn’t do it. Imagine the disappointment when I finally am that adult and still don’t know everything, better still, the shock that comes when we discover that our own parents don’t know everything either.
Wait a minute, let’s jump this up another notch. Not only do we realize that our parents and ourselves are uneducated in this great game called life, but none of us are too overly willing to learn from those that have already lived it. That right there is the real clencher.
Here I am, an almost full-grown adult, struggling with the fact that my children won’t listen to what I have to offer, and like my very own parents with me, I am so tired of hearing the words “I know.” I am frustrated with the fact that they can’t open their eyes and see that I’ve been there and done that, and thanks to what I have learned, they don’t have to figure it out the hard way.
Then I turn around to find out that my parents’ parents are still going through the very same thing with my own mom and dad. As a matter of fact, elders everywhere are trying to save us younger ones from making mistakes, trying to teach us those things that work and those that don’t.
There is this constant battle taking place in life where those of us with a few extra years of life experience are doing our best to pass down our tried and true knowledge on to the younger generation. Millions of elders are sitting back frustrated because they are trying to help feel as though their own way is the best.
As we speak, there is a mother wanting to grab her child by their shoulders and shake them until they see that they don’t know it all. No one knows it all. We will all go to our graves with lessons we have yet to learn. So why is it so hard to except the knowledge already gained from those that came before us?
Think about it. Potatoes actually do draw out infection and stubborn splinters, and chewed tobacco really does take the pain out of a bee sting. Salt in your wash keeps clothes from freezing on the clothes line, and rubbing your dog with rosemary helps rid them of fleas. The examples are endless.
Whether your eight-years-old or 80, there is always more to learn, and the best way to learn it is from those that have already lived it.
LaFayette resident Tanya Nave is a mostly sane mother of three children, a proud wife and caretaker for many pets. “I could probably give life a little more than I am, but I love the one I have,” she says. You can email her at email@example.com. She also has a Facebook fan page.