Sometimes we get stuck seeing things our way. Would you like to see some things through another set of eyes? Maybe it will make you think and stretch or maybe just chuckle or shed a tear. Here is my world through my eyes...

Friday, April 22, 2011

How to tell when you are grown up

Lots of times in the early years of life we look forward to "growing up".  But when it comes down to it, when are we actually grown up?  Oh, of course there is the ubiquitous adult age of 18, but really most of us are still in high school when we turn 18 and though we want to be grown up we aren't.  Then there are those who think age 21 is grown-up because they can drink alcohol legally. 

But truthfully many of us don't feel grown up until years later and some of us always have a part of us that doesn't feel grown up.  Maybe that is a good thing to have a little bit of child left in us to help us through the times when being a grown up isn't all its cracked up to be. 

Laurie Gerber writes an interesting article in the Huffington post (click to go to it) that basically says that you are not grown up until you teach your parents something that they don't know.  This takes confidence and allowing yourself to move up to be your parents equals to do. 

Sometimes, when still a teenager, we chafe under our parents instruction and feel like we are under their thumb.  If so then when we gain maturity and knowledge to a point where we can teach our parents something then maybe that is when we feel that we are coming out from under their thumb.  Certainly there are lots of great parents and great children that don't feel this way.  But even among the best of families there is an odd feeling of being a child again when we are home.  

I suppose that it is possible that feeling like a child again can be kind of nice.  Possibly when we are back home we let our mother do much of the meal prep and we enjoy it again as if we were a child, not feeling the responsibility to prepare it and/or clean up afterward.  If we had happy memories as a child we could have good feelings when we visit home and be comfortable and comforted in a way that we may not have developed in our own home yet. 

But many of us feel uncomfortable returning home and feeling like a child.  Sometimes we blame the parent and think that our parents haven't accepted us as an adult.  Possibly the parents haven't learned how to be a parent of an adult yet.  Possibly the parents yearn for the days when the children were home and they felt part of a bigger purpose and when the adult children are there then they reenact that old parenting role.  However, it could also be that the children resort to old behaviors and fall back into not doing adult things as the parents may fully expect now that the children are grown. 

For these reasons it sounds reasonable to me that the children teaching the parents something could be a good way to help everyone fit more comfortably into a roll of being equal adults.  Certainly the parents, due to age have more experience in many things but the young adults are experiencing some things that the parents have not, and consequently are now in a position to teach the parents some things they know little or nothing about.  Putting both the parents and the young adult children into the role of teachers where we can learn from each other. 

My wife and I are learning that ourselves as our children grow up and out of the house more.  They are having experiences that we haven't had and are going into fields of study or work that we have little or no experience in.  Their life experiences are diverging a lot from ours and it is good to hear them teach us about their lives and about other things they are becoming expert in.  But even more than that I most appreciate learning about their thoughts and feelings about what is happening around them.  They have always been the experts on that and I want to learn about who they are becoming, not just by observation but also by more direct and purposeful forms of communication.  That is one reason I am enjoying blogs so much.  I have two daughters that write occasional blogs and I enjoy learning about them from what they choose to write and say about their lives. 

It really is the joy of parents to see their children mature and experience some of the same things, yes, but also new and different things as well.  Being a parent of adults is at least as much joy as when they were young, if we as parents and they as children will accept the new roles. 

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