There’s a lot to be learned from our children.
I came to realize that most recently at the loving hands (and thoughts) of my 18-year-old son. The moment was indeed one I will never forget and, as life goes, it also took me back to a time in my 20’s when I shared a similar moment with my mother.
My “teaching moment” with my mother came under much different circumstances, but like many things in life, it was a simple moment which left a lasting impression on me.
I was in my mid-20’s off on my own and returning home for a visit when married life and a new career would allow. This one particular visit my aunt happened to be in town and the three of us managed to sneak in a lunch date before the two of us headed off in separate directions.
I’m blessed with a very large extended family. My mom being the youngest of 12 has somehow always managed to maintain good relations with her siblings. My aunt, an older sister who is also my mom’s best friend, was a second mom to me. Her being a second mom made her three sons very much my brothers and as an only child I loved having them.
Truth be told, as a youth, as much as I loved having the older brother figures, I was indeed the nagging and annoying younger sister figure; but I digress.
As life goes and as each of us had blossomed into promising new careers, time was not in abundance. I’d also be remiss if I did not acknowledge the newfound freedom of no longer juggling college, homework, a job and a marriage was … well ... welcomed. However as does happen, my friends, career and social life became the focus and family somehow shifted to the focus for holidays.
During this lunch date, I got an earful from both family matriarchs on the value of family and how I needed to make more time etcetera, etcetera. Listening respectfully I was prompted to share insight (now as an adult) neither of them was ready to hear.
While I recognized I probably could and should do better to carve out time for my family, most especially my brother figures, now as adults, there was one I didn’t especially care for. He was loud, judgmental and quite honestly rude.
As a child what choice did I have in the matter of family gatherings? As an adult, in charge of my own time, that had shifted. This conversation went on for quite a while, but ultimately my point was heard.
Days later my mom thanked me for my honesty and somewhat delicate candor. Acknowledging at the time that just because I was young did not mean I was not wise.
This brings us to present day and the wisdom of my now 18-year-old child.
Sharing this makes me a bit uncomfortable, if being honest, but it was such a teaching moment and as parents I find these moments important.
As a family, the end of 2022 found us once again in an unpredictable and a bit of a challenging season. In mid-January we went to dinner to discuss the weeks to come as we navigate the challenge and some kindness that had been spread our way. The “kindness” I speak of is quite honestly pretty huge and as someone who’s always the “helper,” I’m still adjusting to the idea of being “helped.”
As I shared the nature of the kindness with my children over dinner I welled up. It was just all a bit overwhelming and the emotions of this quickly showed. My emotion quickly became apparent in the eyes of my duo as well. As a family we were touched.
Looking at my son, who rarely gets emotional, he began to speak. Looking me square in the eye, he shared that he was proud of me. Well, my jaw dropped open as he did. Speechless, I continued to listen.
The wisdom he shared that night came as he told me how proud he was that I was allowing people to help us.
“It takes a brave person to ask for help,” he told me.
I’m still boggled by this as I type it, but the sincerity in his eyes and his voice I’ll remember forever.
The takeaway/reminder I came away with that night was one I feel as parents we all need to remember. As we busy ourselves with commitments, responsibility and yes, raising children, they are learning. More than learning, they are growing and in so doing they are wise.
Oh sure, they have much to learn, hits to take and all the things which we once did. Just don’t forget to sit and listen. Of course in some cases they think they’re smarter than they are … so did we and still do in some cases.
Yet at the end of the day or the start or the middle, put down your phone, close your laptop, quiet your mind and listen. You just may gain some wisdom.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at email@example.com or by calling 209-847-3021.