Learn From the Young

There was a birthday party for my mother-in-law last weekend. As I generally do, I sat at the “kids’” table. The youngest kid is now 20 years old and nearly 6’5”!  How things change.

When the boys were small, Aunt Susie took them on ‘adventures’. We have gone to New York, Philadelphia, Washington and Niagara Falls to name a few of our destinations. Not only did I enjoy their company but I have always felt it important that children have a diversity of experiences to draw from.

It appears the tables have turned a bit. I came away from that dinner with a reading list. And a listening list! Nephew #2 has started The Education of Aunt Susie!

I am 63 years old and a professional. Don’t I know enough?

There is a parable I have heard about an old man who has decided it is time to die. He takes his blanket and sits down next to the fire with several other old men who have also decided to die. The child who tends the fire spits on the ground and mixes a little mud to coat his fingers. The old man asks why and the child tells him the mud keeps the embers from burning his  fingers. The man decided he is not ready to die if he can still learn from a child. He gets up and walks away.

Several morals can be taken from that. Bending one slightly, since I am not ready to die, I guess I need to keep learning. The other one I like is: I can learn from the young.

A lot of people I like to think of as friends are younger than I am. A lot younger.  Sometimes I think of myself as a silly old woman who is deluding herself into thinking she is still a youngster. However, in recent years there has been some evidence inter-generational friendships benefit all parties. Anna Kudak says friendships with older/younger folks broaden our perspectives. But that may only happen if we take Good Housekeeping suggestions, expand our networks and keep an open mind.

Other suggestions?  Listen and learn, for example. I have been sitting here listening to the Hamilton soundtrack on my iPad. It was free on YouTube (over 2 hours worth!). I am enjoying it and recalling some of my American history  but probably would not have downloaded it if the nephews had not had a lively discussion about it.

Then, sort of off my track here, there are the rewards of having a broader social network. This is not just so you can have a ride to the gym. (And I assume you are exercising. It is good for you!) Socializing makes us feel better. It has to do with brain chemistry. We really are hardwired to interact with others.

There is cherishing similarities and differences, as well. Good Housekeeping doesn’t exactly say this, but it never hurts to entertain another perspective or even get into a good argument! Keeps us in the game.

So right now I have my assignment. I am listening to Hamilton and I am halfway through my first book. It was free on BARD. Finish those and I will look for the second book. After all, I cannot let these guys get any more ahead of me than they already are! Aunt Susie has a reputation to maintain.

Next: third chakra

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