Personally, I am always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.
The problem lies with my kids, who have become rather intelligent adults, and though I love and respect them, I am not quite ready for them to teach me things. I think there’s a classic role reversal going on here, and I am not taking it very well.
My oldest daughter is suddenly the world’s foremost expert on food. Natural foods, diets, carbs vs. sugar, calories vs. healthy fats, etc. etc. When I was raising her and her siblings, I was the world’s foremost expert on food. I raised this kid on natural foods, dairy milk, no sugar, soy products, and unprocessed honey. Now that I am older and having a few dietary issues, guess who is instructing me in the way I should go? Three guesses. And they all start with “B” for Bonnie.
When I protest that I know all the stuff she suggests, she points out (quite accurately) that my foray into natural foods and an organic lifestyle was (cough) thirty years ago and maybe, she suggests politely, things have changed a little since then.
Hmph, I respond, weighing the niggling resentment in my gut. She continues the teaching about food, and I sigh, but I listen. I reluctantly decide to be taught, and quench my irritation by smashing my lips together.
It is one thing to raise and launch children; entirely another to appreciate them as adults that have gained wisdom of their own. Wisdom I cannot take credit for. Wisdom that has not tumbled from my mouth to their ears. Wisdom they’ve gleaned from their own hard knocks, trial and error, and research. It is a hard pill for this parent to swallow, but I am choking it down. Even learning some stuff.
It’s a tricky transition, the parent-child, parent-adult, parent-friend, progression. Nebulous stages that overlap. I am learning to recognize when to parent, when to friend, and when to shut up. Parent at 25 and below, friend at 25 and above, definitely shut up more than friending when the child is over 30. I think this is a good guide.