Passing on wisdom
Feb. 1, 2016
by Jenni Sebora

Is it really February already? Wow. The Super Bowl is right around the corner. Valentine’s Day is upon us.

For my family, it’s time for March madness, which really begins at the end of February with our youngest daughter’s birthday, and then just goes full force ahead with birthday after birthday.

My youngest will be 12, her last year before teen hood; our middle will be sweet 16; our oldest will be 19, and my twin and I will be celebrating a golden birthday.

Where has time gone? I cannot be the mother of a 19-year-old. Or can I? Yes, I can.

When you hit middle age (some of my students call me old, but I will stick with middle aged – if you are older than 20, you are old), you really do look at things differently because of your own experiences.

We are wiser. Our children may not think so, but we are. When you talk with young people and can make a connection of either experience or observation, what you have to offer in advice or discuss is much more valid.

I work with young adults whose next phase of life is adulthood, in whatever form it may be – college, work, independent living, or buying a car, and the list goes on.

As young adults are starting this phase of their life, there are lots of questions, concerns, and issues that come up.

Having children of my own, including a young adult, as well as the age I am, has helped in my conversations with my students to help them along their pathway.

“I don’t like one of my co-workers.” As an adult, there probably has been at least one co-worker that we had a difficult time with. I remember having this conversation with my son at a job he had in high school.

Connecting with students about these experiences of our own, without using names or being too specific, helps give pertinent, as well as valuable and believable advice.

As parents or grandparents, aunts or uncles, or mentors, we should be reminded of how valuable the experiences we have had are – both positive and negative – and turn them into lessons we pass on to the children we interact with.

What may seem a big deal on a particular day to our children should be acknowledged by us, but also through our own gentle conversations with them, be put in perspective and used as a life lesson.

We are, in essence, storytellers, non-fictional storytellers (sometimes a little fiction thrown in there, too), and our audience is the youth we talkwith.

So, all of us “wise” people can be grateful for our age, because age brings wisdom – wisdom we need to pass on to our youth.

Fellow wisdomites/storytellers, let us not sit on our knowledge and wisdom and stories, but let’s spend time with our youth and pass on our life lessons.

Garrison Keillor said, “Nothing you do for children is ever wasted. They seem not to notice us hovering, averting their eyes and seldom offer thanks, but what we do for them is never wasted.”

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