Once I reached my thirties (I am now 51), I was able to look back and realize that I was not as smart as I thought I was. In fact, arriving at this age and time was actually a very humbling experience for me. Maybe you have had a similar experience. That experience was this: From the age of 13 to 30, I thought I knew everything there was to know. It wasn’t until I got to be in my thirties that I realized that I didn’t know anything at all.
For me, this observation was reconfirmed by being a parent. I have two wonderful and extraordinary kids (now in their twenties) who certainly know more about life and the realities of the world than I do. Just ask them.
If your children are anything like mine, then more than once you were told “You don’t understand” or were greeted by a rolling back of the eyes as you spoke to them. The obvious reason for this must be due to one thing: They know more than we do. I am certain that I did the same thing with my parents and I was a great kid (Naturally!).
It is part of the growing up process. A little independence goes a long way towards causing us to feel pretty good about ourselves and the world around us. If we have some independence (part of the growing up process) and are doing well with it, than we must know what we are doing….certainly more than our parents know. That is why and when as younger people we tell our parents things like “There is nothing to worry about” and “Nothing is going to happen.” I am sure that this confidence and belief serves us well as we begin to find our way in the world.
I am also sure that the humility that comes from learning, experience and recognizing that maybe we don’t know it all serves us well too.
The fact is that the older I get and the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know. That is a good thing. It makes me a better listener. It keeps me a little more open minded. It help[s me tolerate being told “You don’t understand” because maybe, just maybe I don’t.
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