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Parenting & Life Lessons

I have a confession to make. I realize for the first time that I am no longer a Spring Chicken. Though I consider myself a Summer Rooster at only 45 years young, I used to mentally think that I was a young’n, that age ain’t nothing but a number, that if I REALLY wanted to, I could still duplicate my immortal feats of youth. That was true for me until I spent a week with…teenagers.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the distinct pleasure of being thrust into parenthood with two beautiful young women ages 12.9 years (of which I was clearly informed that the .9 means she is only three months shy of 13 and an official teenager) and 16.

It was during this time that reality struck me like a ton of bricks. I realized that to them, I was an OLD man at 45. I also got that I was born in the 60’s and they were born in the late nineties. For the youngest one, I was effectively born in the last century!

I started to think about that for a moment and thought, OMG, what would I have thought about anyone born in the 1800’s! Needless to say, I started reaching for my walker and after putting a bit of lube on the ‘old’ joints realized that it could wait for another 40+ years.

As the days wore on and our conversations got deeper, I had flashbacks of my parents speaking with my friends and me. I realized that they really did know more than me at the time even though I thought they were so outdated that they had no clue. I also realized why my ‘old school’ ethics of respecting your elders was so valuable and how important it really is.

No matter what you ‘think’ you know at every vantage point of your life, those who have gone through it and arrived on the other side successfully have a picture of the same experience that is so much more colorful, vivid, and deeper in understanding than our less mature minds can comprehend. We don’t know what we don’t know and the guidance from those who do cannot only shortcut our learning curve it can lead us away from a lot of unnecessary and massive pain.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20. The bottom line is that we all have to go through learning on our own and nothing…I mean nothing, replaces time and experience. You can be mentored by the best in any specific area, you can read all of the books ever written on an area of expertise and you can even surround yourself with the best of the best in that area and no matter what they say…you’ve still got to go through the experience yourself to really understand the lesson.

The best lesson I learned from being a pseudo parent of teenagers for a week was this; I’ve got a lot to learn. I’ve got to keep learning as much as possible for my own personal growth because you can’t give what you don’t have. And…if there is any generation that needs our experience more than any other, it is definitely teenagers.

Most are smarter than we ever dreamt of being about everything except the most important subject of all…LIFE…and boys; have I shared with you my newfound passion to develop a gun collection. Hoooo Boy, if I only knew how bad I really was. Then again, my parents did say something about that if I recall. Funny how I don’t quite remember that one?


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